What is Corneal Abrasion?
A corneal abrasion is a scratch/scrape/injury on the outer surface of the cornea causing irritation and inflammation in the eyes. It’s a minor trauma or infection that heals quickly. However, if it doesn’t heal on time, it can lead to serious infections like Iritis and corneal ulcer. In simple words, this eye disorder is the result of damage on the epithelium layer of the cornea. Sometimes the bruise in the cornea and penetration of foreign body in the eye causes sclera abrasion (a cut or scratch in sclera region of the eye).
- Accidental entry of sand particles or other foreign bodies
- Dryness of the Cornea
- Accidental chemical exposure to the eyes
- Poking eye with a finger, makeup brush or fingernail
- Excessive rubbing of the eye
- Prolonged exposure to light
- Eye infection
- Wearing old contact lenses
- Redness in the eye
- Eye pain
- Excessive tears and frequent eye blinking
- The sensation of something rough and large foreign body in the eye
- Swollen cornea
- Edema production
- Blurred vision
- Gritty feeling
- Extraocular muscle movement
- Standard Examination: Generally, doctors use Ophthalmoscope to evaluate the corneal condition. This instrument also observes the retina to detect corneal abrasion.
- Slit Lamp Examination: The technique includes an examination of the cornea with the help of a slit lamp microscope. The microscope facilitates the higher magnification of the eyes, unlike an ophthalmoscope. As a result, an accurate evaluation is carried out. The specialists often use a fluorescein stain to detect corneal abrasion.
- Fluorescent stain: The other method used for diagnosis is to fill or instill the affected corneal part with a fluorescent stain. After that, a projection of cobalt-blue light leads to a glowing visible defected area on the cornea. Consequently, the scratches and foreign body gets visible in high magnification that helps the doctor to cure the corneal bruises.
- Topical analgesics: Medicines such as diclofenac (Voltaren) and ketorolac (Acular) are Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) modestly prescribed.
- Topical antibiotics: The antibiotic ointments such as bacitracin (AK- tracin), erythromycin and Gentamycin (Garamycin) are a very effective cure. These antibiotics are better than eye drops due to their lubricating properties. Chloramphenicol is another antibiotic ointment. Patients wearing contact lenses need to be treated with an anti-pseudomonal antibiotic such as Ciprofloxacin (Ciloxan), ofloxacin (Ocuflox).
- Tetracaine: It’s a pain relief medicine and a kind of oral analgesics.
- Mydriatics: These drugs were conventional methods to treat a corneal abrasion, but now they are not in use. Through mydriatics, doctors used to control ciliary muscle spasms and dilate the pupil and corneal parts.
- Bandage contact lenses: These are the lenses that get tightly fit and ease the minimal space for movement. They reduce the risk of hypoxia and corneal edema. The bandage contact lenses also lower the eye pain.
Recurrent Corneal abrasion Syndrome
Occasionally, the corneal abrasion recurs due to poorly healed epithelium layer. When epithelium does not get attached properly to the underlying membrane, then it is supposed to be the poorly healed condition. Recurrent corneal abrasions reflect the characteristics like sudden reversion of ocular pain, foreign body sensation, tear discharge and sensitivity to the light. Phototherapeutic Keratectomy is a laser operating process that is used to treat the recurrent corneal abrasion.
In case of corneal abrasion, prevention is the best remedy to control the worsening condition and after effects of the injury. in addition, when an individual feels that there is any foreign particle in the eye or the eyes have any injuries, then he/she should
- Not rub the eyes
- Not touch the eyeball
- Blink the eyes several times
- Mildly rinse the eyes with clean water or saline solution]
- Wear eye protection (safety glasses, goggles polycarbonate lenses,) when required.
One major complication of corneal abrasion is the entrance of foreign particles such as iron. Iron may cause rusting in the eyes. Sometimes corneal abrasion demands corneal transplantation or surgery in severe condition.
Healing time of Corneal Abrasion
Healing time of outer corneal abrasions is very fast. Treatment of these minor abrasions usually takes 2 days. Severe corneal injuries require specific time to heal. Early diagnosis results in fast recovery.
It depends on the seriousness of the injury that how quickly the abrasion heals. In many cases, the abrasion recurs after few days or month. This condition of recurrence is ‘recurrent corneal erosion.’ First of all, consult a medical professional. And then follow up exams will be the next step to handle this eye-injury and its effect genuinely.