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First Aid Guide: Corneal Abrasion Scratch

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

A Corneal Abrasion, also known as a scratch on the cornea, can cause discomfort and potentially impact your vision. Thus, knowing how to provide first aid for Corneal Abrasion is crucial. This article highlights the effective techniques to alleviate symptoms and promote healing in case of this medical condition. 




What is Corneal Abrasion?

Corneal Abrasion refers to a condition characterised by a scratch on the surface of the cornea, which is the clear, dome-shaped outer layer of the eye.

First aid for Corneal Abrasion

Here’s a step by step first aid guide for Corneal Abrasion

  • Rinse the eye with clean water for fifteen minutes to remove any foreign particles.

  • Gently remove any debris stuck in the eye.

  • Avoid rubbing the eye, as this can further irritate the cornea.

  • Apply a sterile eye patch or bandage to protect the eye from further damage.

  • Seek medical attention if there is persistent pain, redness, or blurred vision.

  • Follow any additional instructions given by a healthcare professional.

Symptoms of Corneal Abrasion

Common signs of Corneal Abrasion include the following.

  • Eye pain or discomfort

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Redness and inflammation of the eye

  • Tearing or watery eyes

  • Blurred or decreased vision

  • Foreign body sensation in the eye

  • Difficulty opening or closing the eye

  • Increased blinking or squinting

Causes of Corneal Abrasion

Causes of Corneal Abrasion can vary, but they generally involve some form of trauma or injury to the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye. 

  • Common causes include foreign objects, such as particles of dust or sand, coming into contact with the eye and scratching the cornea.

  • Other causes can include excessive rubbing of the eye, particularly when there is debris or irritation present. 

  • Also, wearing poorly fitting or dirty contact lenses, as well as exposure to chemicals or harsh substances, can also result in corneal abrasions.

How is a Corneal Abrasion diagnosed?

Corneal abrasions are typically diagnosed through a combination of a medical history review and a comprehensive eye examination. 

  • The doctor may ask about your symptoms, such as eye pain or a foreign body sensation, and any recent activities or incidents that may have caused the abrasion.

  • During the eye examination, the doctor will use a slit lamp microscope to closely examine the cornea for any signs of damage, such as redness, swelling, or a loss of the clear outer layer. 

  • Also, the doctor may use special dyes or tonometry to further evaluate the extent of the abrasion. 

Dangers of a scratched cornea

A scratched cornea can lead to following complications if not properly treated.

  • Infection: It can become infected, which can cause further damage and lead to vision loss.

  • Corneal scarring: If the scratch is deep or does not heal properly, it can result in corneal scarring, which can affect vision.

  • Keratitis: This can cause eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.

  • Corneal ulcer: They can be serious and may require intensive treatment to prevent further damage.

  • Vision loss: If the scratch or resulting complications are severe enough, it can result in permanent vision loss.

Treatment for Corneal Abrasion

Here’s how Corneal Abrasion is commonly treated. 

  • In most cases, the first step is usually gently rinsing the eye with saline solution or using a sterile cotton swab to carefully remove the object causing irritation.

  • After this, antibiotic ointments or eye drops may be prescribed. 

  • Pain relievers can also be used to manage discomfort.

  • If the abrasion is severe or does not improve with conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be necessary. This can include procedures like corneal debridement, where the damaged outer layer of the cornea is scraped away to promote healing.

  • A bandage contact lens may be positioned over the eye to protect the cornea and aid in healing. Also, if there is a risk of infection, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

Tips for preventing Corneal Abrasions

Here are some tips you must consider to reduce your risk of a Corneal Abrasions.

  • Wear protective eyewear: Protect your eyes by wearing appropriate eye protection during activities such as sports, construction work, or any task that poses a risk of injury to the eyes.

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes: Rubbing your eyes can increase the risk of Corneal Abrasions. If you feel the need to rub your eyes, gently wash them with clean water instead.

  • Be cautious with contact lenses: Follow proper hygiene practices when handling and wearing contact lenses to reduce the risk of corneal abrasions. Make sure to clean and disinfect them regularly.

  • Use lubricating eye drops: Use lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes moist and reduce the risk of Corneal Abrasions.

  • Keep foreign objects away from your eyes: Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid getting foreign objects, such as dust or debris, in your eyes. If something does get in your eye, avoid rubbing it and rinse your eye with clean water.

  • Maintain good eye hygiene: Keep your eyes clean by washing your hands before touching your eyes and avoiding sharing eye makeup or eye care products with others.

  • Seek medical attention for any eye injury: If you experience severe eye pain, blurred vision, or any other symptoms after an eye injury, seek medical attention immediately. Delaying treatment can worsen the condition and increase the risk of complications.

  • Avoid exposure to harmful substances: Be cautious when working with chemicals or substances that can irritate or damage the eyes. Always wear protective eyewear and follow safety guidelines. 

  • Protect your eyes from UV radiation: Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can increase the risk of corneal damage. Wear appropriate sunglasses to protect your eyes when you are outdoors.

  • Follow proper contact lens care: This includes properly cleaning, disinfecting, and storing your lenses. Avoid sleeping in your contacts unless specifically prescribed by your eye care professional.

  • Attend regular eye exams: Regular eye exams are important for detecting any potential issues with your eyes and ensuring that your vision is healthy. Follow the recommended schedule based on your age and any pre-existing conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Listed below are some FAQs pertaining to first aid for Corneal Abrasion Scratch.


How quickly does a scratched cornea heal?

A scratched cornea typically takes about 2-3 days to heal completely. However, the healing time can vary depending on the severity of the scratch and individual factors.

Does ice help a scratched cornea?

Applying ice directly to the eye can be harmful and should be avoided. Instead, it's recommended to use a cold compress or a clean, cool cloth on the closed eyelid to help reduce swelling and soothe the eye.

Does sleep help a scratched cornea?

It is not a direct remedy for a scratched cornea but is helpful in general. 

What is the best antibiotic for a scratched cornea?

There are several antibiotics that may be prescribed to treat a scratched cornea, depending on the severity of the injury and the risk of infection. Commonly used antibiotics include erythromycin ointment, bacitracin ointment, and polymyxin B sulphate and trimethoprim solution.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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