Corneal Abrasion

Corneal Abrasions are nothing but minor scratches on the cornea caused by dust, sand or other foreign objects, even fingernails. Corneal abrasions are generally a result of trauma to the surface of the eye. Infected abrasions may become ulcers and presence of plant matter may cause Iritis.
Eye drops for foreign bodies or antibiotics for infection are the paths of treatment.

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Causes

The eye has other defenses besides the orbital bone. Eyelids and eyelashes work to keep foreign particles out of eyes. Even when particles get through and land on the cornea, tears help to wash the particles away. Sometimes, though, a foreign object contacts the cornea and scratches, cuts or damages the surface. Things that can damage the cornea include dust, sand, wood shavings, hay, sparks, bugs, pieces of paper, and even fingernails. The cornea also can be damaged by chemical irritants, improper use of contact lenses, bright lights, and reactions to things like contact lens solutions and eye makeup.


Symptoms

Because they affect the way the cornea functions, corneal abrasions can cause problems with vision. Your child might complain of stinging or burning in the eye, of not being able to see well, or of things appearing blurry.
Other symptoms can include:

  • sensitivity to light
  • red or bloodshot eyes
  • swollen eyelids
  • a watery eye and increased tears
  • the feeling of something being in the eye (foreign-body sensation)

Treatment

If your child has a corneal abrasion, you'll want to have a doctor look at it as soon as possible. In the meantime, take these steps and precautions:

  • Rinse your child's eye with clean water or a saline solution, or use an eye-rinse station if one is available. Rinsing the eye will help to wash away whatever is irritating the eye.
  • Instruct your child to blink several times or pull the upper eyelid over the lower one. The lower eyelash may be able to brush away something stuck to the underside of the upper eyelid. Pulling on the eyelid also will make the eye produce tears, which can help wash away foreign objects.
  • If there is something stuck in your child's eye, don't try to remove it. This can cause further damage to the cornea.
  • Tell your child not to rub the eye, and don't touch the eye with anything like a cotton swab or tweezers. This can make a corneal abrasion worse.

After examining your child's eye, the doctor might recommend treatments to help the eye heal more quickly. The doctor also can safely remove any foreign object stuck in the eye. To treat a corneal abrasion, your doctor may recommend prescription eye drops or an ointment. If your child's eye hurts, the doctor may suggest pain medications. If your child normally wears contact lenses, the doctor may instruct your child not to wear the lenses for a few days.