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A scratch, cut or minor injury on the cornea. The cornea is the clear layer at the front of the eyeball that has a protective function. The cornea can be injured by such things as dirt or sand getting in the eye or even vigorous rubbing of the eye. Corneal abrasions may be very painful and can cause symptoms such as tearing, blurred vision and headaches.

Complications of Corneal Abrasion

Complications and sequelae of Corneal abrasion from the Diseases Database include:

  • Blepharospasm
  • Eye red
  • Eye pain
  • Photophobia

Causes of Corneal Abrasion

  • A corneal abrasion usually results from a foreign body, such as a cinder or a piece of dust, dirt, or grit, which becomes embedded under the eyelid. Even if the foreign body is washed out by tears, it may still injure the cornea.
  • A small piece of metal that gets in the eyes of workers who don’t wear protective glasses quickly forms an abrasion and then forms a rust ring on the cornea. Abrasions also commonly occur in the eyes of people who fall asleep wearing hard contact lenses. A corneal scratch produced by a fingernail, a piece of paper, or another organic substance may cause a persistent lesion. The epithelium doesn’t always heal properly, and a recurrent corneal erosion may develop, with delayed effects more severe than those of the original injury.

Signs & Symptoms of Corneal Abrasion

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Corneal abrasion includes the 7 symptoms listed below:

  • Scratch on cornea
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Twitching eyelid

Diagnosis of Corneal Abrasion

  • A history of eye trauma or prolonged wearing of contact lenses as well as typical symptoms suggest corneal abrasion. Staining the cornea with fluorescein stain confirms the diagnosis: The injured area appears green when examined with a Wood’s lamp or black light. Slit-lamp examination discloses the depth of the abrasion.
  • Examining the eye with a flashlight may reveal a foreign body on the cornea; the eyelid must be everted to check for a foreign body embedded under the lid.
  • Before beginning treatment, a test to determine visual acuity provides a medical baseline and a legal safeguard.

Treatments of Corneal Abrasion

  • The first steps in treatment include examining the eye and checking visual acuity. If the foreign object is visible, the eye can be irrigated with normal saline solution.
  • Removal of a deeply embedded foreign body is done with a foreign-body spud, using a topical anesthetic. A rust ring on the cornea must be removed at the slit-lamp examination with an ophthalmic burr, after applying a topical anesthetic. When only partial removal is possible, reepithelialization lifts the ring again to the surface and allows complete removal the next day.
  • Treatment also includes instillation of a cycloplegic eyedrop and broad-spectrum antibiotic eyedrops in the affected eye every 3 to 4 hours.


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