Corneal Abrasion

What is Corneal Abrasion?

Corneal abrasion is a scratch on the outer layer of the cornea. The cornea is the pure outer layer at the front of the eye. Corneal abrasions can be very painful.

Corneal abrasions can be caused by:

  • A sports injury. This can happen in sports such as basketball or football, when a player is hit in the eye, or in tennis when a player is hit in the eye with the ball.
  • A tiny object that gets into your eye. The object may come out in your tears or your ophthalmologist may need to remove it.
  • An object that scratches your eye. You caninjure your eye with something like a fingernail, branch or piece of paper.
  • Problems with contact lenses. Contact lenses can break or crack and scratch your eye. Excessive use of contact lenses can also cause an abrasion. Soft contacts can cause eye infections if not kept sterile, and eye infections can cause corneal abrasion.

Symptoms may include:

  • redness
  • tearing
  • you feel like you have something in your eye
  • pain
  • a scratching sensation
  • sensitivity to light
  • blurred vision

Your ophthalmologist will ask you about your symptoms and ask if you know how your eye was scratched. (If you don’t know it, the cause may be a disease and not an object in your eye.) Using special eye drops and a light that facilitates the visibility of corneal abrasion, your ophthalmologist will look at your eye. The drops are a painless dye that will make your vision turn yellow for a few minutes.

If something is still in your eye, your ophthalmologist will rinse it with water or remove it with a cotton swab or needle (after numbing your eye with a drop of anesthetic). 

The ophthalmologist can:

  • Give you antibiotic drops or ointment to use for several days.
  • Give you another medicine that dilates your eyes, helps relieve pain and promotes healing.
  • Give you to wear an eye patch. The patch keeps your eyelids closed, helps the cornea heal and helps relieve pain.
  • Place you a contact lens over your cornea to act as a bandage. Intercourse helps to speed up healing and reduce pain in the eyes.
  • He will want to see you every day until your eye heals.

Most corneal abrasions heal in a day or two. If your symptoms last longer than that, visit your ophthalmologist again because you may have a more serious problem.

  • Always wear glasses, safety glasses at work or when playing sports where your eyes may be injured.
  • Follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions for the use and care of contact lenses. Do not wear them more than recommended.

Similar Medical Services