Corneal Abrasion

(Scratched Cornea)

Definition

A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the cornea. The cornea is the clear, front surface of the eye. It is located directly in front of the colored part of the eye.The cornea has several layers that help protect the eye.
The Cornea
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Causes

Most corneal abrasions happen as a result of:
  • Dust, dirt, sand, wood slivers, or metal shavings hitting the eye
  • Vigorously rubbing the eye, especially when something is in it
  • A fingernail, tree branch, or other object scratching the eye
  • Wearing contact lenses , especially if the lenses are worn longer than directed or not cleaned properly
  • Not protecting the eyes during surgery—the cornea can dry out if your eyes are not fully shut during surgery
  • Certain eye disorders

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of corneal abrasion include:
  • Having a dry or weak cornea
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Working in a setting with eye hazards, such as metal working or gardening
  • Participating in sports where accidental eye injuries can occur
  • Bell's palsy

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Pain that may worsen when opening or closing the eye
  • A feeling that a foreign object is in your eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Tearing
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headache

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will be done. The doctor will look for any foreign objects in the eye. Drops may also be placed in your eye to make you more comfortable. It can also make the scratch more visible under a special light.

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