A corneal abrasion is the name given to a scratch or scrape that occurs on the clear, front part of the eye called the cornea. In most instances, they occur as a result of trauma/injury affecting the surface of the eye – such as scratching the eye with your fingernail, getting an abrasive substance such as grit or sand in the eye and rubbing them, or being poked in the eye by something. Some patients can suffer from what is known as a recurrent corneal abrasion which is where the eye keeps being affected. This normally affects people who have suffered a previous injury to the cornea.
A corneal abrasion usually causes the patient to experience a range of different symptoms. These include, but aren’t limited to:
Excessive watering of the eyes
Sensitivity to light
Twitching/irritation of the eye
Feeling as though there is something lodged in the eye
Corneal abrasions are usually fairly painful, owing to the fact that the cornea is packed with nerves. You may find that over the counter pain medications are helpful in managing your discomfort, but this should start to ease as your eye heals too. Patients may experience one, some or all of the symptoms listed above, and their severity may also vary depending on the extent of the abrasion.
Confirming a diagnosis of a corneal abrasion is usually very straightforward and can be established by your eye doctor in Houston, TX following a physical examination. Your eye doctor may use special equipment to examine your eye more closely, and in some instances, a small amount of dye is placed into your eye to make the abrasion more obvious. Once your eye doctor has confirmed your diagnosis, they will explain what your options are regarding treatment.
Most corneal abrasions will get better on their own, but without treatment, the process is much slower, meaning that you are also left dealing with symptoms far longer than you need to. In some cases, inflammation and infection can occur if treatment isn’t sought, and this could put you at risk of permanent damage to your eyes and vision.
There are several different treatments that you may be recommended to try. These could include:
Antibiotic ointments. These help to prevent your eye from becoming infected, which is important since an abrasion can create a pathway for harmful microorganisms to enter the eye. These should be administered exactly as directed.
Artificial tears. These lubricate the eyes to help prevent the eyelid from sticking to your cornea while you sleep – something which could hamper the healing process.
Cyclopentolate. This special eyedrop dilates the pupil and helps to relieve discomfort associated with corneal abrasions. However, your vision will be blurred for 12 hours or more following administration, meaning that these drops are best use overnight.
Avoid wearing contact lenses. If you usually wear contact lenses, you will be advised to avoid doing so until your eyes are fully healed. This is because placing contacts in your eyes and removing them means touching your eyes – something which increases your risk of developing an infection.
For more advice on the symptoms of corneal abrasions, or to find out further information about the treatments available, please speak to our experienced eyecare team at Houston Dry Eye Clinic by calling 713-664-4760 today.