Corneal Abrasion

Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What is Corneal Abrasion?

The iris (colored part of the eye) and pupil (the black circle in the center of eye) are covered by a clear and protective membrane known as the cornea. Any scratch to the surface of the cornea results in corneal abrasion. This can occur due to any external objects scratching the surface of the eye such as finger, gravel, grit, twig, piece of paper etc.

What is Corneal Abrasion?

Causes of a Corneal Abrasion

  • Foreign object in the eye such as dirt, gravel bits of paper blown into the eye because of wind.
  • Getting poked in the eye by fingernail or a makeup brush.
  • Ill-fitting or dirty contact lenses.
  • Some eye infections.
  • Forcefully rubbing the eyes.
  • Chemical burns.
  • If your eyes are not protected or are not closed during any surgical procedure under general anesthesia, then the cornea loses moisture and dries out making it more prone to corneal abrasion.


Symptoms of Corneal Abrasion

  • Eye pain.
  • Gritty sensation in the eye.
  • Patient feels as if something is stuck in the eye.
  • Redness.
  • Watering eyes.
  • Visual disturbance or loss of vision.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Headache.

Corneal Abrasion

Treatment for Corneal Abrasion

  • Minor corneal abrasions usually heal on their own within 3 days. Severe abrasions require more time for healing.
  • Never rub your eye if you feel a foreign object has entered it. Blink your eye several times. The upper eyelid should be gently pulled over the lower eyelid. Rinse your eye gently with clean water or saline solution. Never rub while rinsing your eye.
  • If the sensation of foreign body in the eye continues and there is no relief with the above measures, consult an ophthalmologist immediately.
  • The ophthalmologist examines the eye using a special eye stain to visualize the surface of the eye more clearly and to remove any foreign object present.
  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment may be given to prevent infection.
  • The ophthalmologist may also prescribe pain killers.
  • Until the eye is completely healed, avoid wearing contact lenses. Wear sunglasses to alleviate the pain caused by the sun glare and never rub your eye.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 11, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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