When you suspect a corneal abrasion
A corneal abrasion occurs when a person’s cornea – the clear, domed covering over the eye’s iris and pupil – is scraped or scratched. This can happen in a number of ways, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Among them: Something, such as sawdust or ash, blows into the eye; a substance such as dirt, dust or sand gets stuck under the eyelid; someone wears improperly fitted contact lenses; or the eye gets poked. Additionally, vigorously rubbing the eye can lead to an abrasion, as can having an eye infection.
A corneal abrasion can be painful, and that pain may increase when you open or close your eye. Other symptoms include tearing, redness, light sensitivity, headache and blurry vision, AAO states.
What to do
The Mayo Clinic advises taking these steps if you believe you have a corneal abrasion:
- Flush out your eye with clean water or saline solution or, if available, use an eyewash station. Flushing your eye may help remove a foreign object.
- Blink several times, which may help remove small particles.
- Pull your upper eyelid over your lower lid, which may result in your eye tearing up and washing out foreign particles.
Minor corneal abrasions will generally heal on their own within a few days. If you believe the abrasion is more serious, consult your eye doctor.
To help prevent future injuries, refrain from rubbing your eye after an injury, wearing contact lenses while your eye is healing, or touching the healing eye with cotton swaps or other items.
And if your job calls for eye protection, make sure you wear it.