Here are two tricks to remove a ring from a swollen finger and find a tiny speck in your eye.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

These two medical techniques are among the most popular I’ve ever shared here. They’re little-known but easy to master, and they often solve a couple of daunting, frustrating problems.

Since I published them over two years ago, readers have told me again and again that these tips have allowed them to avoid expensive doctor visits. So I thought they were worth recapping, to make sure you have them in your back pocket. They could save you time, money, and lots and lots of frustration.

1. Use Floss to Get a Ring Off a Swollen Finger

Most rings are pretty perfectly fitted for the wearer. So when the finger swells, even a little, no amount of tugging will get the bauble off. It’s a panic-inducing situation, watching your finger expand around that metallic tourniquet.

But much of the time, all that’s needed to slip the ring right off is a little dental floss or duct tape. (Add lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, to help even more.) Watch this video for the trick.

Interestingly, since I published this tip, some people have told me they had better luck with the duct tape than the dental floss.

If the technique doesn’t work (or if your finger’s circulation is halted) and you need to have the ring cut off ASAP, use an ice pack and elevation to minimize swelling until you can get to the doctor, as detailed in the post that accompanies the video.

2. Flip Your Lid to Find a Hidden Speck in Your Eye

If you’re certain there’s a tiny something is in your eye but you can’t find it, this flip-your-lid technique may reveal it. “I was pretty sure I was going to experience death by eyeball before I found this article,” one reader, Autumn, said. Frustrated people who’d been trying for hours to find a speck have told me this trick worked.

However, if you try it and you still can’t find anything, the “object” could actually be a scratch or ulcer. Use antibiotic ointment until you can see a doctor. If you want, for comfort, make an eye patch by taping gauze over your shut eye. This will stop painful blinking. (Be aware, though, that your depth perception will be off. And wear sunglasses outside because your patched eye will make the open eye’s pupil dilate more.)


Have you ever used either of these tricks or something similar?

(Please share this post with friends! You never know when it might make someone’s day.)