If you scratched your eye, it’s very important to be aware of the next steps and also to know how to prevent this situation from occurring in the future.
A superficial scratch on the eye, known medically as a corneal abrasion, usually happens in an instant and is often a result of common eye injuries. The scratch is usually on your cornea which is the clear part that covers the front of the eye including the pupil and iris. A scratch on the eye can be caused by a poke in the eye or if there is a foreign particle trapped under the eyelid. When a scratch happens, it can cause pain in the eye and difficulty closing the eye.
If you experienced a scratch on the eye, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. An examination will be done to find out the exact problem and to properly diagnose it as a corneal abrasion, if relevant. The eye doctor will apply fluorescein, which is a special dye on your cornea. This should not hurt and it highlights the corneal abrasion so the doctor can clearly see it using a special microscope, known as the slit lamp, along with a blue filter.
Most superficial scratches heal on their own within a few days, but it’s still important to be checked by an eyecare professional. You shouldn’t use any eye drops for a corneal abrasion before consulting with your eye doctor what is best for the health of your eyes. If you’re experiencing severe pain or changes in your vision due to a scratch in your eye, it is recommended that you go to the local emergency room for immediate care.
A scratch on the eye could cause mild to severe discomfort and pain, sensitivity to light and redness in the eye. Due to the fact that the cornea is a very sensitive part of the eye, even the smallest scratch can cause severe pain. Sometimes the cornea can even become swollen if the object in the eye is rough and big in size.
Certain other symptoms of a scratch in the eye can include:
If you notice any of these symptoms or experience sudden changes in your vision and find it difficult for you to perform your daily activities, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.
As mentioned, the cornea is a very sensitive part of the eye. An abrasion typically happens when there is a foreign object stuck under the eyelid. Even the smallest and softest of objects can lead to a scratch on the cornea, such as dust or sand.
If you rub your eyes very hard, this could also lead to a corneal abrasion. Dried or dirty contact lenses can also cause a scratch on the eye. When the cornea comes in contact with anything that is pointy or sharp like a fingernail or pencil, it can get scratched and cause severe discomfort.
Patients with a chronic dry eye syndrome may also face corneal abrasions. A consultation with your eye doctor would give you a clear picture on whether you have dry eye syndrome and how you can best treat it. If you have observed a possible scratch on the eye, you should visit your eye doctor immediately. Treatment of the condition in time can reduce the discomfort and heal the scratch properly.
If you think your eye got scratched with a foreign object that is stuck, try to flush the eyes with clean water and to blink more in order to see if the object will come out that way. Don't try to remove the foreign object with your fingers or with any instruments and do not rub your eyes. If it does not come out on its own or there is persistence of pain, redness and sensation of a foreign body then you need immediate care from an eye doctor.
Once the exam and diagnosis is done, the course of treatment would be given based on the severity of the condition. Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops or prescription eye drops would be recommended by the doctor for minor abrasions. This allows for proper moisture maintenance in the eyes. It also helps with the natural healing of the eye and helps relieve discomfort. Sometimes, the eye doctor will give you eye drops that dilate your pupil in order to ease the pain. The eye doctor may give an ointment for application on the abrasion. In order to reduce the sensitivity to light, pain and inflammation, steroids may also be given to the patient. Even if you have a superficial abrasion, antibiotic eye drops may be used to prevent any types of infections as the healing takes place. If you have a superficial abrasion, the healing process would be faster than a deeper cut, and you can usually see results within a couple of days.
Sometimes the eye doctor will give you an eye patch to protect the eye and allow it to heal. Another option is a bandage lens, which usually is a soft contact lens that does not have any optical prescription. It’s main purpose is to protect the cornea from rubbing with your eyelashes or anything else and this allows it to heal better.
The eye doctor will often ask you to schedule a follow up exam, after the initial treatment is given. You will also be restricted from wearing your regular contact lenses until the scratch heals properly. If you continue to wear your regular contact lens, you will risk serious infection and the healing process would be disrupted as well.
If you get treatment in time, the corneal abrasion will heal fast and not cause any permanent damage to your vision. However, if it is left untreated, it can lead to complications, such as the development of a corneal ulcer, which may also lead to vision loss. The most important thing is to abide by the directions and treatment plan given by the eye doctor. If the abrasion does not heal properly, it could cause recurrent erosion of the cornea. Certain other complications arising from this might also have an impact on your vision, health and overall comfort.
Many corneal abrasions can be easily prevented. Some simple precautions should be taken by individuals, especially at work, to avoid getting a scratch in the eye. If your work environment consists of airborne debris then safety glasses or protective eyewear can work wonders for you. Even if you are engaged in yard work, playing sports or using power tools at home, the use of protective goggles can save you an extensive amount of discomfort.
Make sure your children’s fingernails are properly cut in order to avoid accidental scratching of the cornea. Also, be very careful when applying makeup not to poke your eye. It is essential that people who wear contact lenses follow the guidelines and maintain proper hygiene to prevent damage to the cornea.
If your eye has been scratched, please schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to receive a diagnosis and a proper treatment plan. Most superficial scratches heal on their own within a few days, but it’s important to be checked by an eye care professional. If you have serious symptoms of extreme pain, changes in your vision or anything concerning the safety of your eyes then please go to the emergency room for immediate care.