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Corneal Abrasions

Definition of
Corneal Abrasions

A corneal abrasion (scratched cornea or scratched eye) is one of the most common eye injuries. A scratched cornea often causes significant discomfort, eye erythema, and photophobia. Corneal abrasions result from a disruption or loss of cells in the top layer of the cornea, called the corneal epithelium.

risk factors for
Corneal Abrasions


Eye pain

Corneal abrasion typically causes moderate to severe eye pain that can be described as a sharp, stinging, or burning sensation. The pain may worsen with blinking or rubbing the eye.

The affected eye may appear red or bloodshot due to irritation and inflammation of the cornea.

The eye may produce excessive tears as a protective response to the injury, leading to increased tearing and a watery discharge.

Corneal abrasions can cause sensitivity to light, known as photophobia. Even normal indoor lighting or sunlight may cause discomfort and increased squinting.

 Vision may become blurry or hazy in the affected eye. This can occur due to the disruption of the corneal surface and the resulting irregularity in the passage of light through the eye.

Many people with corneal abrasions describe feeling as if there is something in their eye, such as sand or a foreign object. This sensation may persist even after rinsing the eye.

The eye may produce excessive tears or have a watery discharge as a response to the injury. In some cases, there may also be mucus or pus-like discharge.

Swelling of the eyelids or the area around the eye can occur due to the inflammation caused by the corneal abrasion.

It is important to note that corneal abrasions can also occur spontaneously without any apparent cause. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is recommended to consult an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

treatment types

Examination and Evaluation

Your eye care specialist will examine your eye using specialized equipment to assess the size and severity of the corneal abrasion. They may also evaluate for the presence of any foreign objects or additional injuries.

Antibiotic eye drops or ointments may be prescribed to prevent infection and promote healing. In some cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain-relieving eye drops may be recommended.

To promote healing and prevent further damage, your doctor may recommend wearing a protective eye patch or a special contact lens that acts as a bandage for the cornea.

Prescribed lubricating eye drops or ointments can help keep the eye moist and promote healing while reducing discomfort.

Regular follow-up visits are essential to monitor the healing process and ensure there are no complications. Your eye care specialist will provide specific instructions for the care and protection of your injured eye.

A corneal abrasion is a scratch or injury to the cornea, the clear, protective outer layer of the eye. It can occur due to various factors, such as foreign objects, accidental trauma, contact lens misuse, or even from the edge of a broken or chipped fingernail.

If you are experiencing the discomfort of a corneal abrasion, our experienced team is here to provide you with expert care and effective solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a corneal abrasion?

Corneal abrasions can result from various causes, including foreign objects in the eye, such as dust, dirt, or small particles, accidental scratching of the eye, contact lens-related injuries, eye rubbing, or trauma to the eye

A healthcare professional will typically perform a thorough examination of the eye using a slit lamp microscope. Fluorescein dye may be applied to the eye to help identify and visualize the corneal abrasion under blue light.

In many cases, minor corneal abrasions can heal on their own within a few days. However, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent infection and promote proper healing. Treatment options may include antibiotic eye drops, lubricating eye drops, or an eye patch to protect the eye.

If left untreated or if not properly cared for, corneal abrasions can lead to complications such as corneal infections, corneal ulcers, or scarring. These complications can potentially affect vision and may require more intensive treatment.

To prevent corneal abrasions, it is essential to practice good eye hygiene. Avoid rubbing your eyes, especially if you have foreign objects in them. When working in environments where eye injuries are possible, wear protective eyewear. Properly clean and handle contact lenses to reduce the risk of injury.

 It is generally recommended to avoid wearing contact lenses when you have a corneal abrasion. The contact lens can further irritate the injured cornea and potentially delay healing. Consult with your eye care professional for specific guidance.

 The healing time for a corneal abrasion can vary depending on the size and severity of the injury. Small abrasions may heal within a couple of days, while larger or more severe abrasions may take a week or longer to heal completely.

 It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect a corneal abrasion. Additionally, if your symptoms worsen, you experience severe pain, have decreased vision, or develop signs of infection (such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge), prompt medical evaluation is necessary.


Contact Santa Monica Eye Medical Group today to schedule your consultation. Our skilled team is committed to helping you achieve your aesthetic goals with personalized care and exceptional results