What is corneal abrasion?
A corneal abrasion is a scratch on your eye. It can happen in an instant. You poke your eye or something gets trapped under your eyelid, like dirt or sand. Your eye hurts, and it doesn’t get better when you close it — if you can keep it shut. Light makes it sting and burn.
It’s actually on your cornea. That’s the clear layer that covers the iris, the colored part of your eye. It also shields the pupil — the black circle in the middle of your eye.
How common is corneal abrasion?
Corneal abrasion is extremely common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of corneal abrasion?
If you’ve scratched your eye before, you’ll probably remember how it feels. If not, you might:
- Feel like you have sand or grit in your eye
- Have pain, especially when you open or close your eye
- Notice tearing and redness
- Become sensitive to light
- Have blurred vision
- Not be able to see
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes corneal abrasion?
You might get a scratch if you:
- Poke your eye with a fingernail, pen, or makeup brush
- Get dirt, sand, sawdust, ash, or some other foreign matter in your eye
- Get chemicals in your eye
- Rub it too hard
- Wear poor-fitting or dirty contact lenses
- Get a certain type of eye infection
- Have surgery without proper eye protection
You may not feel symptoms right away. As a result, you may not be able to figure out what caused it.
What increases my risk for corneal abrasion?
Please discuss with your doctor for more information.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is corneal abrasion diagnosed?
If you have any of the symptoms of a corneal abrasion, you should seek care from your ophthalmologist. He or she will perform a thorough eye examination. During the examination, your ophthalmologist may put numbing drops in your eye so that it can stay open for the examination.
To accurately diagnose a corneal abrasion, your ophthalmologist may perform a fluorescein eye stain. This is a test that uses orange dye (fluorescein) and a blue light to detect damage to the cornea
How is corneal abrasion treated?
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to keep your eye from getting infected. He might also give you medicated eye drops to ease pain and redness, along with pain medicine. She might tape your eye shut and have you wear a patch over your eye to keep light from bothering it.
A minor scratch should heal on its own in 1 to 3 days. More severe abrasions may take longer.
While your eye heals, remember:
- Don’t rub your eye.
- Don’t wear contacts until your eye doctor says it’s safe to do so.
- Wear sunglasses to ease discomfort caused by sunlight.
You should fully recover from a minor scratch without permanent eye damage. But deep scratches can cause infections, scars, and other problems. If you don’t take care of them, they can lead to long-term vision problems. Report any unusual symptoms, including a return of pain after treatment, to your eye doctor.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage corneal abrasion?
If you feel like there’s something in your eye, you’re going to want to rub it. Don’t — that’s how you get a scratch. Do this instead:
- Blink your eye several times.
- Pull your upper eyelid over the lower eyelid.
- Gently rinse your eye out with clean water or a sterile saline solution.
- Don’t try to remove anything that’s stuck onto your cornea. Only a doctor should do that.
If you still feel like something’s in your eye, see an eye doctor as soon as you can or go to the emergency room. The doctor will look at your eye and use a product called eye stain that lets him see the surface of your cornea. If something is on it or in it, he can safely remove it.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Corneal abrasion. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/corneal-abrasion-diagnosis. Accessed October 17, 2017
Corneal abrasion. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/corneal-abrasions. Accessed October 17, 2017
Review Date: October 17, 2017 | Last Modified: October 17, 2017