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Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment of Corneal Abrasions

A corneal abrasion (scratched cornea) can cause significant discomfort and it may even increase your risk of developing a serious eye infection. Here are some signs you should watch out for and how to know if it’s time to visit your Calgary eye doctor.

The cornea is one of the most sensitive parts of your body. Even a small corneal abrasion can be extremely painful and cause significant discomfort and hypersensitivity to light. In addition to this, symptoms of a scratched cornea may include: 

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred or decreased vision 
  • A dull ache in the eye
  • Eye twitching 

If you have sudden eye pain with excessive tears and rapid blinking, along with some eye redness, you may have a scratched cornea and you should visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. 

Our Calgary Eye Doctors Can Help Protect Your Eye Health 

If you are suffering from a corneal abrasion, our knowledgeable and friendly Calgary eye doctors can help treat the scratch and get you back to optimal eye health. We also offer a range of other services, including emergency eye care, contact lens fittings, and dispensing of eyeglasses, to meet all your eye health needs. 

Want to know more? Contact Us Today!

Do You Have a Corneal Abrasion? Here’s What You Should Do 

A corneal abrasion is a superficial scratch on the clear, protective ‘window’ at the front of your eye (your cornea.) The cornea can be scratched by a number of things including dust, sand, dirt, metal particles, contact lenses, and even paper. 

If you do have a corneal abrasion, it’s important to visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. If this condition is left untreated, you could be at risk of developing a serious eye infection or a corneal ulcer. 

In the meantime, here are some steps you should take at home:

1. Rinse your eye:
Rinse your affected eye with clean water or a saline solution. An easy way to do this is to use a small, clean drinking glass and place the rim on the bone at the base of your eye socket. Rinsing your eye could help flush out the foreign object. 

2. Blink several times:
Blinking several times can help remove any small particles that are remaining in your eye.

3. Pull your upper eyelid over the lower eyelid:
This could make your eyes tear up, washing away the foreign particle. Or it may allow the lashes of your lower eyelid to brush away the object from under your upper eyelid. 

If you suspect that you have a corneal abrasion, DO NOT: 

  • Attempt to remove any object that is embedded in your eye or that makes closing your eyes difficult
  • Rub your eye after the injury
  • Touch your eyeball with instruments such as tweezers or cotton swabs
  • Wear your contact lens in the scratched eye 

Most corneal abrasions will heal within 1-2 days. However, deep corneal abrasions that are left untreated may lead to a corneal ulcer that could result in severe vision loss. That’s why it’s always important to visit your eye doctor for treatment. 

Corneal Abrasion: Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect that you have a corneal abrasion, you must visit your eye doctor straight away. They will examine your eye with a light to check for obvious corneal injuries, small specks of dust, and other foreign objects. To confirm a very small corneal abrasion, your eye doctor may even place a small drop of yellow dye (fluorescein) into your eye. 

If you only have a mild corneal abrasion, you may not require any other tests. However, if it is a more serious injury, your optometrist may want to examine your eye with a slit lamp and test your vision. 

How is a Corneal Abrasion Treated? 

Your eye doctor will treat your specific eye condition based on their diagnosis. Depending on the severity of your corneal abrasion, it may be treated using: 

  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment: Your optometrist may suggest using steroid or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops to reduce any inflammation and avoid potential scarring. 
  • Lubricating drops: Minor abrasions can sometimes be treated with non-preserved lubricating drops. These will keep your eyes moist and comfortable while your eye’s natural healing process takes place. 
  • Eye patch: Your eye may or may not be patched. Your optometrist may have specific reasons for your treatment based on your unique situation and if you have any questions about their decision, you must ask why a certain choice has been made. 
  • Pain relief: Your eye doctor may recommend that you take pain pills orally and wear sunglasses to help relieve any pain due to light sensitivity. 

How Long Do Corneal Abrasions Take to Heal? 

When treated immediately, a mild corneal abrasion can heal quickly (24-48 hours) with no permanent vision loss. However, deeper abrasions that occur in the centre of your cornea may leave a scar that results in a loss of visual acuity. 

If left untreated, a deep corneal scar could cause a corneal ulcer, which may result in severe vision loss. That’s why it’s important to follow your optometrist’s treatment recommendations and attend any follow-up visits as directed. 

Contact Us

If you suspect that you have a corneal abrasion, our team of Calgary eye doctors can help. We have the tools and knowledge to address any eye emergencies or injuries immediately to protect your eyes and lower your risk of vision loss. 

To find out more, contact our eye clinic at 403-286-4884 or fill in our online contact form.

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