How to treat corneal abrasions

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Abrasion of the cornea is one of the most prevalent injuries affecting the eye. The cornea is the lucid, shielding “window” located at the anterior part of the eye.  Dust, dirt, sand, shavings of wood, particles of metal or an edge of a piece of paper can cause abrasions or cuts in the cornea and if it becomes infected, it can result to a corneal ulcer which is a dangerous condition. Corneal abrasion that is caused by a pine needle will cause a delayed inflammation within the eye which is known as iritis.

An individual can scratch the cornea in many ways like a tree branch strikes an individual in the face, being accidentally punched in the eye while playing with children or while engaging in any sports activity. Additionally, if there is something blown into the eyes or enters the eye such as paint chips, pieces of wood, grains of sand and metal fragments. Take note that all of these can cause corneal abrasions. By enrolling in a first aid class, you can learn more how to handle this condition.


A symptom of a scratched cornea is feeling as if there is something inside the eye. Other symptoms include eyes becoming prone to produce tears, blurred vision or in extreme cases, loss of vision. The eyes are also sensitive to light and tend to squint due to the sensitivity to light.

Treatment and home remedies

corneal abrasions
A symptom of a scratched cornea is feeling as if there is something inside the eye. 
  • Rinse the eye with clean water using saline solution if available. Use an eyecup or small drinking glass and position the rim resting on the bone at the base of the eye socket. By rinsing the eye, it washes out foreign objects out of the eye.
  • The individual should blink the eye several times since this movement removes small particles like dust or sand.
  • Pull the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid and the lashes of the lower eyelid will brush away the particles from the under surface of the upper eyelid.
  • Avoid removing embedded objects in the eyeball and avoid removing large objects that can make it difficult for the eyes to close eyes.
  • Avoid rubbing the eyes after an injury. Touching and pressing the eye can cause the abrasion on the cornea to worsen.
  • Do not touch the eyeball with tweezers, cotton swabs or other tools since this can make corneal abrasion worse. A minor corneal abrasion usually heals within 24 to 48 hours.
  • If rinsing of the water does not work, use artificial tears or lubricants. These are used by people with contact lenses in helping relieve dry eyes, but it can help in flushing out particles and provides a soothing relief to scratched corneas. Avoid wearing the contact lenses until the symptoms are completely healed.
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever can also help in minimizing the pain.
  • Resting the eyes can help in minimizing the symptoms of an eye abrasion. Reading or looking around it requires moving of the cornea which causes further irritation and damage. Instruct the individual to close the eye in a dark room for a short period of time to help the eyes heal.
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