Paediatric corneal abrasion

A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the clear window on the cornea (front of the eye). Abrasions are very painful because there are many nerves in this part of the eye. If your child has a corneal abrasion, their eye may be watery, red and sensitive to light. It may also be puffy and their vision may be blurry.

Treating an abrasion

The abrasion will heal itself over 24 to 48 hours but it can take up to one week, and occasionally a little longer for your child’s eye to feel and look completely better.

To prevent any infection whilst your child’s eye is healing, it is important to use antibiotic drops or ointment for several days (the eye doctor or nurse will prescribe this). Occasionally, in the case of large abrasions, other drops and an eye pad will also be needed. If your child is in pain, you can give them painkillers suitable for children, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Will my child need further check- ups?

In most cases, your doctor will discharge your child straight from A&E and there will be no need to return for a check-up.

What to look out for

  • Pain, redness and swelling getting a lot worse in the days after your child’s injury.
  • Yellow or green discharge coming out of your child’s eye.
  • Your child’s vision becoming worse over time.

If you are still worried about your child’s symptoms, please call Moorfields Direct for advice or alternatively, attend A&E for a further review.

A&E for children is located in the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre

Opening hours: 9am - 4pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, please attend the adult A&E department at Moorfields City Road (around the corner).

Author: Paediatric information group

Review date: September 2021