What is a Corneal Abrasion?
The cornea is the transparent tissue covering the front of the eye. It works with the eye’s lens, which functions like a window controlling the entry of light into the eye. Along with the eyelids, eye socket and the white of the eye (sclera), the cornea protects the eye by shielding it from germs, dust and other harmful substances.
A common injury, a corneal abrasion is a scratch or cut on the outer surface of the cornea caused by a foreign object, such as sand or dust in the eye, improper contact lens use or eye trauma. Symptoms include a feeling that you have something in your eye, tearing, blurred vision and eye pain, especially when opening or closing your eye.
How is a Corneal Abrasion Diagnosed?
Ophthalmologists diagnose corneal abrasions by introducing drops of a dye called fluorescein stain into the eye. Although abrasions may be viewed with ophthalmoscopes, slit lamp microscopes provide higher magnification for a more thorough evaluation. The dye fluoresces and reveals the injury when a cobalt blue light is shined on the eye.
How Are Corneal Abrasions Treated?
Antibiotic drops or ointment protect against infections while the abrasion heals over time. Depending on the size of the abrasion, your ophthalmologist may place a patch over the eyelid for 24 hours to decrease pain and speed healing.
For additional information on corneal abrasions, visit the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus page »
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Visit our website »This information, although based on a thorough knowledge and careful review of current medical literature, is the opinion of doctors at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and is presented to inform you about ophthalmic conditions. It is not meant to contradict any information you may receive from your personal physician and should not be used to make decisions about treatment. If you have any questions about the information above or your child's care, please contact our doctors.