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Corneal Abrasion – Symptoms, Diagnosis , Treatment

Written by Dr.Mary

What is a Corneal Abrasion?

This is a scrape or scratch of the surface of the clear part of the eye – and it is very painful. The clear area of the eye is the cornea. This clear or transparent window covers the iris, which is the colored circular part of the eye. This cornea has many endings of the nerves beneath the surface, so that any interference of this surface is very painful.


Corneal Abrasion Symptoms

An individual should be suspicious of having a corneal abrasion if they have had any injury to the eye. Some symptoms that can be experienced are:

  • A feeling that there is something in the eye – this feeling often starts a few hours after any injury instead of immediately.
  • Eyes watery
  • Distortion or blurred vision
  • When exposed to any bright light – severe eye pain
  • Muscle spasms surrounding the eye – causing individual to squint

An individual should see an ophthalmologist – eye specialist – if any of the following are experienced:

  • Eye pain – with or without any associated injury to the eye
  • Sudden loss of vision or a sudden substantial blurring of vision
  • Eye injury from high-speed equipment, such as a grinding wheel, hammering upon metal or from carpentry sanding – any of these can cause a tiny fragment to get in the eye
  • Have a sensation that something is in your eye
  • Exposure to sunlight or indoor bright lights cause eye pain which is severe
  • Redness of the eye
  • Experience of minor eye symptoms in the presence of an eye condition which is known or in the presence of having sight in only one eye
  • Pain lasts more than a few hours or is very severe.
  • Wearing of contact lens longer than normal
  • Chemical or heat burn to the eye
  • Returning pain of an eye injury that had seemed to have resolved with treatment

Go to the hospital’s emergency room if experiencing any of the above as well as unable to be seen by an ophthalmologist.

Some steps that can be taken immediately for an abrasion to the corneal are to:

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  • Wash your eye with water which is clean such as saline solution. Use a small, clean drinking glass or eyecup positioned with the rim relaxing on the bone located at the bottom of the eye socket.
  • Blink a number of times. This is the movement that can get rid of small specks of sand or dust.
  • Take the upper eyelid and pull it over the lower one. These lashes of the lower lid may brush any foreign body from the surface under the upper eyelid.

Corneal Abrasion Diagnosis

The following will be done to diagnose if you have an abrasion of the corneal:

  • The individual will need to inform the physician of any previous problems with the eye, especially injuries, or eye disease such as glaucoma. This is because certain eyedrops can cause conditions to get worse.
  • Also tell the physician if you have any allergies.
  • The physician will more than likely put a numbing eye drop into your eye which will take away the pain and allow you to keep the eye open for an exam.
  • The physician will then put a yellow-colored eye drop into the eye and then examine the eye with a blue light. This eye drop contains a dye called fluorescein which causes any corneal abrasion to be easier to see during the examination.

Corneal Abrasion Treatment

The physician will treat the eye based on the diagnosis made.

  • An antibiotic ointment or eyedrops can be placed or prescribed for your eye. Many physicians may also use steroid eyedrops in order to diminish any inflammation as well as to evade likely scarring.
  • Drops to stop the spasm in the eye muscle can possibly be placed into the eye by the physician. These drops can relieve the pain and any sensitivity to light however may cause the vision to blur.
  • The eye may or possibly not be patched by the physician. Recent reports show that patching of the eye really doesn’t help and can actually have an impact that is negative on the progress of healing.
  • If it were rusty or metallic bits that caused the injury to the cornea, the physician may also advise a tetanus shot especially if your vaccination is not current.
  • Eyedrops for eye pain will not be prescribed for use at home as they normally can interfere with the natural healing process.
  • Oral medication for pain can be prescribed
  • Sunglasses can help relieve any pain

Corneal abrasions normally heal totally within 24-48 hours of the injury. There are some cases that can heal poorly and then recur without having any additional trauma.

Other reasons for eye pain and injuries can take longer to heal or may need more extensive treatment by an ophthalmologist

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