A corneal abrasion is a scratch on your eye. It can be caused by many things, even something as simple as rubbing your eyes too much. If you suspect you have a corneal abrasion, you should seek treatment from an eye doctor.
In today’s article, Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist explains everything you need to know about corneal abrasions and how they’re treated. We will begin by explaining how the cornea works and then discussing the causes of corneal abrasions. We’ll also discuss what you need to do if you have a corneal abrasion and explain when you should seek emergency care.
About the Cornea
The cornea is the clear front surface of the eye, where light first enters. The cornea is directly in front of the iris and pupil. When viewed from the front of the eye, the cornea looks slightly wider than it is tall because the sclera slightly overlaps the bottom and top of the anterior cornea. The cornea is about two-thirds the size of a dime, and its center thickness is slightly more than half a millimeter.
The Cornea’s Function
The clear cornea allows light to enter the eye and it provides approximately 65% to 75% of the focusing power of the eye. The rest of the focusing power of the eye is provided by the crystalline lens behind the pupil. Most refractive errors are caused by asymmetry in the cornea or abnormal curvature of the cornea. Individual parts of the cornea have specialized functions:
Bowman’s Layer – This part is dense to prevent corneal scratches from penetrating into the corneal stroma. That’s why corneal abrasions that are limited to the outer epithelial layer typically heal without forming scars. Scratches that penetrate Bowman’s layer and the corneal stroma usually leave permanent, vision-affecting scars.
Corneal Endothelium – The single layer of cells that forms the corneal endothelium maintains the fluid content within your cornea. Damage to this area can cause swelling that can affect your vision and the health of your cornea.
Corneal Epithelium – This part provides an optimal surface for the tear film to spread across the surface of your eye. This helps keep the eye moist and healthy, maintaining your vision.
What Is a Corneal Abrasion?
Corneal abrasions are among the most common eye injuries. A corneal abrasion can disrupt the protective corneal epithelium, which can create an open wound that increases your risk of a serious eye infection.
As an expert in eye health and eyeglasses, we strongly recommend seeing an eye doctor immediately if you suspect that you have a corneal abrasion.
What Causes Corneal Abrasions?
There are countless ways for a person to experience a corneal abrasion because anything that comes into contact with the surface of the eye can cause a scratch. For example, rubbing your eyes too hard, getting dirt or sand in the eye, accidentally poking your eye with a makeup brush or wearing your contact lenses for too long–these are all common causes of a corneal abrasion.
Dry eyes can increase your risk of corneal abrasion because your eyelids may stick to the cornea when you sleep. When you wake up, your eyelids can then tear part of the corneal epithelium, causing an abrasion.
Corneal Abrasion Symptoms
A scratched cornea can cause you significant discomfort including pain, red eyes and hypersensitivity to light. The cornea is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, so even a small corneal abrasion can feel very painful. Corneal abrasions often feel much larger than they are. Other symptoms of corneal abrasions include blurry vision, eye twitching, a dull ache, nausea and tearing. If you experience these symptoms, then you need to an eye doctor.
What to Do If You Feel Something in Your Eye
People tend to rub their eyes if they feel that there’s something in them, but this is a bad idea. Doing so can cause a corneal abrasion. If you have something in your eye, then you can try to flush it out with water. Inspect your eye for small particles that may be stuck under the eyelid, then flush it with clean water or saline solution once or twice. Do not rinse your eye more than a few times. Do not rub or press the eye. If symptoms persist, then seek medical assistance.
Things to Expect During the Eye Exam
Your eye doctor might apply an eye drop to numb your eye during your consultation. This helps keep the eye open during the exam. They can also use another eye drop to help them see the extent of the abrasion. The eye doctor will probably use blue light and an examining microscope called a slit lamp. Your eye might also be gently swabbed for a culture to ensure proper treatment in the event that you have an eye infection.
Corneal Abrasion Treatment
The treatment for a corneal abrasion will depend on the severity of the abrasion and its cause. Minor abrasions can be treated with non-preserved lubricating drops. These drops keep the eye comfortable and moist while the eye heals naturally over time. However, even minor abrasions are sometimes treated with antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection. Minor abrasions tend to heal very quickly, within two to three days.
Some corneal abrasions may require the application of an antibiotic ointment that stays on the eye longer. The eye doctor might also prescribe a steroid to decrease inflammation and something to relieve pain and light sensitivity. Deep corneal abrasions take longer to heal and in some cases they can leave a permanent scar that can affect your vision. Depending on the treatment and the severity of the corneal abrasion, your eye doctor may schedule a follow-up eye exam within a day or two of the initial treatment. Many corneal abrasions heal quickly when they are treated right away.
Preventing Corneal Abrasions
There are some simple precautions you can take to reduce the risk of corneal abrasions. For example, you should always wear protective goggles or safety glasses in environments with airborne debris. You should also wear protective eyewear when using power tools, doing yard work or playing sports. You should also always follow your eye doctor’s instructions regarding how to handle and care for your contact lenses. Don’t poke your eyes or rub them too hard.
Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist can treat your corneal abrasion and help you with all of your eye care needs. Our experienced eye doctors can help you protect your eyes and maintain your clear vision. We offer the best eye care and vision correction services in our local area. Our convenient location also makes it easy for our patients to stop by and get their eyes checked.
Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist offers the best eyeglasses and contact lenses, and we personalize all our treatments. We give our patients exactly what they need. We never take a one-size-fits-all approach to vision care, so we’ll make sure to ask you plenty of questions during your visit.
We want to provide you the best service possible, always listening carefully to your needs and concerns. Your feedback is very important to us. In addition, we also provide emergency office visits.