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November 3, 2014

What to Do When You Scratch Your Eye

It happens when you least expect it. Something suddenly blows, or pokes you in the eye. You might feel pain right away, or it might be hours before you realize something isn’t right. A scratch or scrape on your eye is called a corneal abrasion and is one of the most common eye injuries when it comes to eye care.

Whether you’re outdoors playing sports or relaxing at home, corneal abrasions can happen anywhere. They range in severity from a trivial irritation to an extremely serious cut that can result in vision loss. Trauma can be the result of small pieces of dirt, sand, wood or metal that scratches the cornea when you blink or rub your eyes. Scratches can also be the result of leaving contact lenses in too long.

When an abrasion scratches the cornea, symptoms can include pain, tearing, sensitivity to light, excessive squinting, swollen eyelids, blurred vision and even headaches. Symptoms don’t always occur right away, making it difficult to identify the cause.

When experiencing corneal abrasion, you should rinse your eye with saline solution or clean water. Never rub or touch your eye since doing this can make the situation worse. It’s also advisable not to wear contact lenses with a scratched eye.

If flushing your eyes doesn’t remove the foreign particle, or you feel pain or loss of vision, see a doctor as soon as possible. While a minor scratch may heal on its own in 1 to 3 days and require only simple monitoring and eyedrops, more serious abrasions can take much longer. Deep scratches may even cause corneal infections that require antibiotic eye drops. Without proper treatment, complications can include scarring and long-term vision problems. Although scratches cannot be anticipated, it is always a good idea to wear protective eyewear when entering a situation that increases the chances of eye damage.

If you believe you may be suffering from a corneal abrasion, please contact us at 877-871-1684 to schedule an appointment with an eye care specialist.

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