A Corneal Abrasion is a surprisingly common injury which involves the loss of surface of the Epithelial layer of the cornea. This injury can occur due to a wide variety of causes, such as poking or scratching the eye with the finger and/or finger nail, metal and other flying shrapnel, scratching the eye after sand or dirt has entered, walking into tree branches and bushes, and being hit by flying objects.
Assessing the pain after the initial shock of the injury is generally key in knowing whether or not you have suffered a Corneal Abrasion. Pain caused by non-abrasion sources typically subsides within ten to fifteen minutes. However, continuing and worsening pain, difficulty opening the affected eye, increased tear production, extreme sensitivity to light, and the feeling of a foreign body in the affected eye suggests that a Corneal Abrasion has occurred.
In order to diagnose and examine the extent of damage, one suspecting that they may have suffered a Corneal Abrasion must visit a physician. Due to the level of pain caused by this unique injury, most Corneal Abrasion sufferers find themselves being immediately taken to the nearest walk-in clinic or emergency services department.
Medical treatment for Corneal Abrasions depends greatly upon the extent of damage and amount of pain of each individual sufferers. While a topical Cycloplegic may be applied upon visiting a physician, these drugs are not typically prescribed, as they actually prolong the healing process of this painful injury.
Self-care is the most effective method of treating a Corneal Abrasion. Your physician may prescribe a topical antibiotic and prescription-strength artificial tears. Safe and effective at-home self-care tips for a Corneal Abrasion include:
Keep the affected eye shut. In order to prevent the eye from further movement, wearing an eye patch for 72 hours after the initial injury is a recommended and comfortable method.
Wear sun glasses at all times for the first week after the injury occurred – even when indoors. Losing and injuring the Epithelial layer of the cornea not only increases light sensitivity, but can cause extensive further damage when exposed to even the most gentle of light.
Do not rub or touch the injured eye. Rubbing, touching, poking, or excessive rinsing with water may cause the injury to expand and will greatly slow down healing time.
Do not wear contact lenses for three to four weeks after the injury. This cannot be stressed enough, as even the slightest eye irritation or touching can harm the healed cornea and may slow healing and/or re-injure the area.
Wearing eye make up such as eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara is not recommended for three to four weeks after the initial injury. The eye may be injured during application of make up, and even the tiniest bit of foreign body entering the eye can cause extreme irritation – which leads to rubbing, scratching, and re-injuring the newly healed cornea.
While Corneal Abrasions caused by metal and other shrapnel can be usually be prevented by wearing safety glasses or goggles, not all Corneal Abrasions can be prevented. Unfortunately, this is typically an injury that just happens by complete accident.
Having your Corneal Abrasion diagnosed by a physician is the most important step in the healing process. Beyond that, self-care is the only way to insure proper healing.