Corneal abrasion

A corneal abrasion involves a scratch on the corneal surface. This is the transparent external layer on the front part of the eye. In most cases, this eye injury can cause intense pain. Generally, most cases heal in 1-2 days while some take a longer time to recuperate.

What are the possible causes?

Generally, a corneal abrasion can be brought about by various forms of eye injuries such as:

  • Poking or striking the eye
  • Scratching of the eye with any object such as a twig, fingernail or comb
  • Entry of foreign objects such as dirt, splinters or eye makeup
  • Cracked or chipped contact lenses or using lenses for extended periods of time


Corneal abrasion

Scratchy sensation or feeling that there is something inside the eye.

The usual signs of a corneal abrasion include:

  • Eye pain and redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Scratchy sensation or feeling that there is something inside the eye
  • Spasms of the eyelids
  • Lastly, light sensitivity occurs

Management of a corneal abrasion

In case there is a foreign object within the eye, the doctor will remove it. In most cases, the treatment includes the following:

  • At first, the doctor might prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment to lower the risk for an infection.
  • Use an eyedrop or ointment to reduce the eye pain or discomfort.
  • If eyelid spasms are present or the individual has significant light sensitivity, use eye drops to dilate the pupil which relaxes the eye muscles and lowers the pain.
  • Lastly, the doctor places a contact lens bandage over the cornea which helps hasten the healing and reduces the eye pain.

In case the individual is using contact lenses, the doctor might instruct the individual to wait for a week or longer after the cornea has recuperated before using them again.

Remember that once an individual had this injury, he/she is at risk for a repeat injury in the same site. In addition, it is recommended to use artificial tears or an eye ointment to lubricate the eyes after the corneal abrasion has recuperated.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a corneal abrasion is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how the injury is managed, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.



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