Corneal Abrasion: Just a Scratch?

  • Posted on: Jun 30 2021
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People who get a scratch on the eye don’t usually stop and think of the term “corneal abrasion” to describe what has happened. They just know that their eye hurts and they want to feel better. A corneal abrasion is a pretty common injury. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a good number of emergency room visits are for this problem. Here, we discuss what a corneal abrasion involves and what to do about it if you or someone you love exhibits signs that they have sustained this eye injury. 

What Is Corneal Abrasion?

The cornea is the clear outer layer of tissue at the front of the eye. It is a layer that protects the eye from debris and germs. An abrasion can occur spontaneously due to a loss of or disruption to the cells in the top layer of the cornea. A corneal abrasion is a scratch on this piece of tissue. Abrasions are usually caused by an external factor, such as a tiny wood chip particle flying into the eye while working on a DIY project.  Some of the common causes of corneal abrasion include:

  • Foreign particles. A particle of dust or sand can scratch the cornea. This is especially likely because our instinct, when something irritates the eye, is to rub. 
  • Traumatic injury. Statistics indicate that auto workers are especially prone to corneal abrasion due to traumatic injury. Like the flying wood chip, debris from the workplace can enter the eye and cause a deep scratch. 
  • Contact lenses. Eye doctors often see corneal abrasions that have occurred after a person has worn contact lenses for a prolonged period. 

Signs of a Corneal Abrasion

A scratch on the cornea can be significantly uncomfortable. Patients with this injury often feel like something is in the eye. In some cases, there is a particle trapped under the eyelid. Additional symptoms that may occur after the cornea is scratched include:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness
  • Soreness in the eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain when blinking

What to Do About a Corneal Abrasion

Depending on the severity of the scratch on the cornea, the eye may heal within a few days with a few convenient remedies. Severe scratches are expected to heal but may need prescription medication to hasten the process. For a corneal abrasion, a doctor may recommend:

  • Using a lubricating eye drop
  • Covering the eye or wearing a patch for a short time to prevent blinking
  • Taking over-the-counter pain reliever as needed
  • Taking antibiotics to prevent infection in the eye
  • If the eye doctor finds a foreign body, they may flush the eye gently to remove it

Contact Your Trusted Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologists play an essential role in diagnosing and treating eye conditions like corneal abrasion. Roholt Vision Institute is proud to provide friendly, professional service in Canfield, North Canton, and Alliance. Contact us today to schedule your visit. 

Posted in: Ohio Eye Care

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