What To Do For A Scratched Cornea

If you’ve ever experienced a scratched cornea, or “corneal abrasion,” you know exactly how painful it can be. Even the smallest injury to the cornea can be painful. The cornea has many, many nerve endings that alert the brain that there is something foreign in the eye, or if there has been damage.

Unfortunately, with a scratched cornea, pain may persist until the scratch has healed. Blinking itself can be painful, and healing can take a week or longer depending on how severe the scratch is. Patients with a corneal abrasion may also experience:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry or decreased vision
  • Headache

What can cause a corneal abrasion?

Our eyes are designed to keep particles out. Our eyelashes can trap particles trying to impact the eyes, and our eyes also tear to wash out offending particles. However, there are many ways in which a corneal abrasion can occur. Makeup brushes, fingers, pets, and sports injuries can scratch the eye and result in pain and discomfort. Sand, dust, and other small particles can enter they eye when patients are outdoors.

What should I do when I have a foreign object in my eye?

Foreign objects can result in a scratch to the cornea that can be painful. When something has entered the eye, patients should rinse the eye with a saline solution and keep blinking their eye to flush the foreign object out. Avoid rubbing the eye, and don’t insert tweezers or q-tips into the eye for removal. Avoid contact lenses, which can contribute to the problem, and contact the optometrist as soon as possible for an evaluation. If eye pain is present, it may indicate a cut in the corneal tissue. While the primary way to address this problem is to allow the eye to heal, it is essential that patients take proper steps to avoid infection and other vision complications that may occur after corneal abrasions. The doctor may prescribe eye drops to keep the eyes clean and reduce the risk of infection while healing occurs.

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Richens Eye Center is here to help patients with their eye health, and offers three convenient locations in the areas of Mesquite, NV and St. George, UT. Call (435) 986-2020 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharon Richens for a consultation and eye examination.

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