The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the front portion of the eye. It helps your eyes to refract, or bend, most of the light so that we can see clearly. As cornea contains many sensitive nerve endings, even a minor injury can cause sharp pain. Corneal abrasion should not be taken lightly. If left untreated, it could result in a corneal ulcer and it may leave a scar that impairs vision.
Causes of Corneal Abrasions
- Accidents: being scratched by pets, hot oil splashes in the eye, or a small speck of dust, wood, metal or sand gets in the eye.
- Rubbing the eye forcefully.
- Not wearing contact lens correctly.
- Dry eye syndrome (DES), inverted eyelashes, or poor eyelid closure.
- Photokeratitis: over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays reflected off the snow or water surface (usually in high altitudes or seaside).
Symptoms of Corneal Abrasions
Pain or gritty feeling in the eyes, tearing, redness, blurry vision, light sensitivity.
Treatment of Corneal Abrasions
The wound will heal on its own within one or two days. However, corneal abrasions sometimes lead to secondary problems such as iritis (inflammatory iris) or corneal ulcer which causes scarring or clouding on a cornea and impairs vision. To minimise infections or prevent scarring, eye injuries should be treated at Urgent Care Clinic, where doctors could prescribe antibiotic eyedrops/ ointment, or steroid eyedrops.
Handling Corneal Abrasions
- Flush out foreign objects by rinsing the eye with eyedrops.
- Blink continuously to get rid of the small particles.
- Pull the upper eyelid to the lower eyelid to encourage tearing.
- Wear sunglasses to minimise UV rays exposure.
- Avoid washing the eye with tap water to avoid bacterial infection.
- Do not rub the eyes, as the symptoms can be worsened.
- Do not use fingers or cotton swabs to remove foreign objects.
- Do not wear contact lens.
- Do not use redness-relief eyedrops, as it may become more painful.