Diseases & Conditions


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Corneal Abrasion


What is a corneal abrasion? The cornea is the transparent covering on the front part of the eye. It covers the pupil and the colored part of the eye. A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the cornea. How does it occur? A corneal abrasion commonly occurs when an object scratches the eye. It can happen with eye injuries from sports or by simply scratching your eye with a comb or any other object. It can also be caused by wearing contact lenses too long. What are the symptoms? You have pain in your eye. Your eye may become red and be teary. Your vision may be blurred. How is it diagnosed? Your health care provider will examine your eye. He or she will check your vision and look at the surface of your eye. Your health care provider may put a painless dye in your eye to help make the scratch easier to see. The stain will temporarily make your vision yellow. The yellowness will go away in a few minutes. How is it treated? If you have gotten something in your eye, after a drop of anesthetic your health care provider can remove it quickly and painlessly. The covering of the eye has a great ability to heal itself. This healing will be aided by the use of antibiotic drops or ointment. Your health care provider may patch your eye and may recommend a follow-up eye exam in the next 24 to 48 hours. How long will the effects last? Most corneal abrasions heal within a day or two. Once the cornea has healed, you can usually resume your normal activities right away. How can I prevent corneal abrasions? Corneal abrasions are best prevented by wearing protective eyeglasses, sports goggles, or eye shields that attach to the face masks of helmets. Written by Pierre Rouzier, M.D