Corneal Abrasion: What is it?
Symptoms You May Experience:
Examination: What Your Eye Doctor Will Look For:
What You Can Do:
When To Call Your  M.D.:
Prognosis:  Will I See Better?
A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the cornea (the clear, nonwhite surface of the eye).  An abrasion can be caused my an eye injury (such as from a fingernail, a paper cut, a foreign body, or a contact lens).
You may have immediate pain, the feeling that something is in your eye, tearing, or discomfort while blinking.
Your doctor may use an eye drop that has a special dye to see an area of staining where the top layer, or epithelium, of the cornea is missing. He or she may also see redness and inflammation of the eye.
Avoid injury to your eyes.  Decrease the length of time you wear your contact lenses.
If you are experiencing any decrease in vision, redness, severe pain, or a white spot on the normally clear front surface of your eye, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately.
Treatment usually depends on the size and cause of the abrasion.  If it is small, it can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment.  If it is larger, antibiotic drops, certain dilating drops (cycloplegics), and rarely pressure patching may be needed.  If organic material (such as grass, plants, or wood) is the cause of the abrasion, then the abrasion is considered dirty and the eye will need to be examined more frequently for possible secondary infection.  No pressure patching is recommended for abrasions caused by organic material or contact lenses.
Corneal abrasions generally heal in several days, with vision returning to normal.  A secondary infection may make treatment more difficult.  In patients with diabetes mellitus, a corneal abrasion heals more slowly.
corneal abrasion
Above: A Typical Corneal Abrasion
(Click For Bigger View-Warning: Graphic)
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