When you poke your eye or debris gets under your eyelid, you could end up with a scratch on your cornea. The scratch on your cornea is a corneal abrasion. It is one of the most common injuries. However, few people know how to deal with it.
The scratch disrupts the cornea, the clear, protective surface at the front of your eye. The disruption creates an open wound that increases your chances of getting an eye infection. Thus, you should see an eye doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you have a corneal abrasion.
If you need to confirm whether you have a corneal abrasion, here are some things you will notice. You will tend to rub your eyes. It is because you feel like there is something in them. When you feel this, you can try to flush the eye in case there is something.
Once you flush it, do not rub—it can make the abrasion worse if there is still debris in the eye. Also, do not patch the eye. Doing so can increase the risk of an eye infection. The patch creates an appropriate environment for the speedy growth of bacteria.
If you have access to sterile saline solution or contact lens solution, use this instead of tap water. Tap water has microorganisms in it that can cause infections. These infections could impair your vision. Therefore, be careful even when flushing the eye. If pain, redness, and the sensation of a foreign body continue, seek medical attention.
The treatment of corneal abrasions depends on the cause of the abrasion and the severity of the wound.
Treatment for minor abrasions includes non-preservative lubricating eye drops. The eye drops help keep your eyes moist and comfortable. They also allow healing to take place without complications.
If you wear contact lenses, you may also need to stop doing so for a while. As a precaution, there is also a prescription for antibiotic eye drops to treat minor abrasions. It helps prevent infection as healing takes place.
More severe abrasions require an antibiotic ointment. The ointment stays longer on the eye and protects it from further damage. There is also a prescription for a steroid that decreases any inflammation. The doctor will also add a pain reliever to help with light sensitivity and any other pain.
Deep abrasions take longer to heal and can cause scarring, which may affect vision. In these cases, the doctor applies a bandage contact lens on the cornea. There is also a prescription for eye drops. The eye drops are for hydration of the eye and to make sure it heals with minimal scarring. These special lenses also relieve pain and can speed up healing.
Minor abrasion will take one to three days to heal on its own. More severe abrasions will take longer. The cornea is a fast-healing tissue, and without complications, it will heal without drawbacks. There is the removal of cells that experience damage. Then cells move across the area of damage in a single layer.
The single layer reconstructs the regular thickness of the epithelial layer. Then there is the anchoring of the cells in the epithelial layer to the substrate. If there is no damage to the lower layers, the process takes a few days. But if there is damage, it may take a few months.
For more information on corneal abrasions and their healing, contact Berris Optical at our office in Rocky River, Ohio. You can call (440) 571-7100 to book an appointment today.