Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Corneal Abrasions in Children

Corneal Abrasions in Children

A pitiful site isn’t it? I thought so too! She broke my heart all day long. It started at 3:30 am when she came running to my room screaming, “I scratched my eye! I scratched my eye!” I pulled her to me and saw that she was rubbing her eye like crazy with the corner of her blankie. I thought that might be the problem but she distinctly corrected me saying that her fingernail scratched her eye and that the blankie was helping. Who was I to argue?

This sounded classically like a corneal abrasion, a scratch or injury to the cornea, the clear surface that covers the front of the eye. It can be very common in kids and presents often with symptoms of eye pain, tearing, and light sensitivity. Because I never delay treatment when it comes to the eye – and neither should you- I took her to go see her Daddy. Lucky for us he’s an Ophthalmologist. We talked all about her fears before we got there: “No, he won’t cut on you. No, there are no shots. No he won’t poke your eye out.” She seemed a little reassured but still clung to me.

It was a relatively easy examination because of the mixture of anesthesia and fluorescein stain drops he put in her eye. I was surprised to see that – no kidding- within seconds she was back to normal. “How long does this last?”, I asked hopefully. “Only about 15 minutes”, he replied. It was just long enough for him to get his exam. The stain allowed him to see the scratch when viewed with a special light. And, as he said, it looked like she’d caught her fingernail on the cornea and peeled a piece of it off like wallpaper. After he prescribed some antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, placed a patch over her eye for comfort, she was my shadow for the rest of the day.

She did great despite my fear that she would cry all day long. My oldest hovered over her. It was such a cute site to see her leading her by the hand. For once there was no fighting! My youngest, however did his best to antagonize her; He kept leaning over and ripping the patch off. Poor thing! But within 12 hours she was feeling better. And by the next day you’d never know that anything was wrong!

by Sheila Cason MD

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