Corneal abrasion

A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the clear part of the front of your eye.

What is corneal abrasion?

Corneal abrasions are a small scratch on the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye. They are generally a result of trauma (injury) to the surface of the eye. Common causes include a fingernail scratching the eye, walking into something, and getting grit in the eye, particularly if the eye is then rubbed. Injuries can also be caused by contact lens insertion and removal.

How a corneal abrasion affects vision

Abrasions are very painful because there are many nerves that supply the cornea.The pain gets better as your eye heals, but this can take between 24 and 48 hours.If the abrasion involves the central part of your cornea, your vision could also be temporarily affected.Apart from the pain, your eye might be watery, red and sensitive to light.

If your eye becomes increasingly red or painful after treatment or your sight becomes much more blurred, you should see an eye doctor again or contact the hospital.

What causes corneal abrasion?

Scratches to the cornea are common. The cornea could be scratched by a hairbrush, a fingernail or a tree branch. It may be scratched when a small object such as a dust particle hits your eye. If a small foreign body becomes lodged under your eyelid, this can cause scratches on your cornea.

Other advice

  • Sunglasses may help reduce light sensitivity
  • Avoid rubbing or touching your eye
  • You may also be advised to use lubricants (artificial tear drops orointment) to help keep your eye moist while it heals
  • If you wear contact lenses, please do not use them until your eye is completely healed (usually within two to four weeks)

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