What is a corneal abrasion?

What is a corneal abrasion?

A corneal abrasion is a scratch or scrape on the surface of your cornea.

What causes a corneal abrasion?

Fingernails, makeup brushes, and tree branches are common culprits of corneal abrasions. Some other causes of corneal abrasion are rubbing your eye and having very dry eyes.

What are the symptoms?

  • The feeling that something is stuck in your eye
  • Red, painful, watery eyes
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Being extra sensitive to light

Why do corneal abrasions and corneal erosions hurt so much?

The cornea has many nerve cells. Cells called pain receptors transmit pain to tell us about possible damage to the eye’s surface. In fact, there are hundreds of times more pain receptors in our cornea than there are in our skin.

How are corneal abrasions diagnosed?

Your ophthalmologist will put dye called fluorescein on your eye’s surface. Then they will look at your cornea with an instrument called a slit lamp. The dye will highlight a cut or scratch on the cornea.

What are the treatments?

Your ophthalmologist will treat your eye based on what they find in the exam. Following are some options:

  • You might wear a patch over your injured eye. This is to keep you from blinking and making the corneal abrasion worse.
  • You may use moisturizing eye drops or ointment. This adds a soothing layer over the cornea.
  • Your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent an eye infection.
  • You may be given special eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil. This can help relieve pain.
  • You may be given a special contact lens to reduce pain and speed healing.

If your corneal abrasion is small, it probably will heal in 1–2 days. A larger corneal abrasion may take about a week to heal.