A corneal abrasion can cause pain and irritation of the eye, especially after sleeping in contacts or a brush with a fingernail or tree branch. One of the most common injuries we see, corneal abrasions can be especially damaging to the eye if neglected.
This injury involves a scratch of the cornea, or the protective layer coating the eyeball and can occur in a number of ways. The cornea consists of five layers. To keep it simple, the main layers consist of a top layer known as the epithelium, a middle layer known as the stroma, and the deepest layer known as the endothelium. Fortunately, most corneal abrasions occur in the epithelium and heal relatively quickly.
Common symptoms of a corneal abrasion include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision or loss of vision
Although corneal scratches are self-limiting and may heal within a day or two, it is necessary to visit a trained eye doctor to determine an appropriate plan for treatment. If an abrasion involves a tree branch or other vegetation, the cornea should also be monitored to prevent a possible fungal infection. Although an infection is rare, serious corneal problems can occur, including scarring.
If you believe you have suffered a corneal abrasion, it is important to immediately rinse the eye to remove any debris that may have caused the injury. If you wear contact lenses, discard them to prevent any further damage to the eye.
Once you have rinsed the eye, schedule an appointment with us to receive a full assessment of the abrasion. Depending on the size and location of the injury, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, pain medication, and artificial tears. In cases of larger abrasions, a bandage contact lens may be necessary to aid in comfort and healing.
Only a trained eye doctor can properly diagnose a corneal abrasion and develop the right treatment plan to help you recover as quickly as possible.