Our eyes are very delicate. Even something as small as a minor scratch is enough to cause irritation. A corneal abrasion occurs when the cornea – the thin protective layer on the eyes – becomes scratched. It’s best to avoid this kind of damage.
Just about anything can lead to a corneal abrasion. Since the cornea is thin and sensitive it doesn’t take much for it to become scratched.
Some causes of corneal abrasion include:
Essentially, anything that can enter your eye can cause a corneal abrasion.
Signs and symptoms of a corneal abrasion are:
Severe symptoms may lead to blurry vision, in which case you should seek out medical attention.
The moment you feel something in your eye, you should rinse it gently with cool water. Do not try to retrieve it with your fingers as this can lead to further damage. Blinking may also be helpful to remove small particles in the eye, but if there are metal particles this may cause the abrasions to become worse.
An ophthalmologist may recommend eye drops to reduce infection and ensure the eye stays lubricated. It’s important not to rub your eye if it has experienced a corneal abrasion as it can worsen the condition. In severe cases, you may have to wear an eye patch to prevent anything else from entering the eye.
The severity of the corneal abrasion will determine healing time. Typically, larger abrasions will take longer than smaller ones. The good news is the corneal abrasion will heal and not lead to future vision problems. Complications can occur, though, because the cornea is thin. In these cases it may lead to recurrent corneal erosion. Corneal erosion happens when the tissues slip apart and do not fully heal. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to smooth the cornea.