Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What is a Corneal Abrasion

What is a corneal abrasion?

A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the cornea. The cornea is the clear outer layer on the front of the eye. Corneal abrasions can be very painful.

How does it occur?
Corneal abrasions can be caused by:
  • A sports injury: This can happen in sports such as basketball or football when a player gets poked in the eye, or in tennis or racquetball when a player gets hit in the eye with the ball.
  • A tiny object that gets in your eye: The object may come out in your tears, or your healthcare provider may need to remove it.
  • An object that scratches your eye: You may scratch your eye with something such as a fingernail, branch, piece of paper, or comb.
  • Problems with contact lenses: Gas permeable contacts may become chipped or cracked and scratch your eye. Wearing contact lenses too long can also cause an abrasion.
  • School children who play with pencils, pens and other pointed objects.
  • Workers who are exposed to eye hazards on the job, especially those involved in farming or construction

Corneal Abrasion picture (

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may include:
  • redness
  • tearing
  • feeling like you have something in your eye
  • pain
  • a scratchy feeling
  • sensitivity to light
  • blurry vision

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and ask if you know how your eye was scratched. (If you don't know, the cause may be a disease rather than an object in your eye.) Using special eyedrops and a light that makes an abrasion easier to see, your provider will look at your eye. The drops contain a dye that will make your vision yellow for a few minutes.

How is it treated?

If something is still in your eye, your healthcare provider will flush it out with water or remove it with a swab or needle (after numbing your eye with a drop of anesthetic).

Your healthcare provider may:
  • Give you antibiotic drops or ointment to use for several days.
  • Give you another medicine that dilates your eyes and helps relieve pain and sensitivity to light.
  • Tape an eye patch over your eye to keep the eyelid closed. This helps to relieve pain.
  • Place a contact lens over your cornea to act as a bandage. The contact helps to speed up healing and reduce eye pain.
  • Want to see you often until your eye is healed.

How long will the effects last?

Most corneal abrasions heal in a day or two. Larger abrasions will take longer. If your symptoms last longer than that, see your healthcare provider again because you may have a more serious problem.

How can I help prevent a corneal abrasion?

Always wear goggles, safety glasses, or eye shields at work or when playing sports where your eyes could be injured.
Follow your eye care provider's instructions for wearing and caring for contact lenses. Do not wear them longer than recommended.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Corneal Abrasion Healing Process

I just had a corneal abrasion quite recently. It was a medium sized scratch. The pain took abt 3-4 days to completely subside. I have been regularly goin for my eye check-ups and as of now, the abrasion has almost completely healed. I just need to know how long it would take for me to gain back my normal vision.. which was perfect before this abrasion. Is there anything I need to do or can do to gain back clear vision asap? Or if I need to wait for it to return back to the normal clarity .. how long more does it usually take if it doesn't have any major issues to worry about?

Answer from Dr. Nikola Gjuzelov :
If the corneal abrasion was restricted to the epithelial layer and there is no infection, there probably won't be any consequences to your vision. But if the abrasion was deeper and affected the sub-epithelial layer, a scar on the cornea will be formed as a permanent consequence. Scars on the cornea will permanently damage the vision on the affected eye. A corneal scar and permanent vision damage will also occur if a corneal abrasion, no mater the depth, is complicated with an infection. There is nothing you can do except to follow doctor's instructions for preventing infection. Recovery time and eventual consequences to the vision depends upon the severity of the abrasion and eventual complications.

When minor abrasions occur, healthy cells quickly fill the defect to prevent vision-diminishing infection or irregularity in refraction. If the abrasion penetrates the cornea more deeply, the corneal abrasion healing process takes longer—24 to 72 hours. Deeper scratches can cause corneal scarring that can impair vision to the point where corneal transplant is needed. Specific incidence and prevalence data are not available, but corneal abrasion is the most common eye injury in children presenting to emergency departments.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Corneal Abrasion Pain

Some studies have suggested that ophthalmic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) decrease the pain associated with corneal abrasions without impairing healing. This evidence-based emergency medicine (EBEM) critical appraisal reviews the literature, including additional studies appearing since the publication of an earlier EBEM review in 1999.

The updated search for randomized controlled trials from 1999 to 2002 complemented the previous 1966 to 1999 search. The methodologic quality of the studies was assessed. Qualitative methods were used to summarize the study results.

The search identified 3 studies not included in the previously published review of ophthalmic NSAIDs, yielding a total of 5 blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trials involving NSAIDs for corneal abrasions. The methodologic quality of the new studies was somewhat higher than that of the 2 original studies and was rated as "good" to "strong." The qualitative summary indicates that NSAIDs provide greater pain relief and improvement of other subjective symptoms when compared with placebo. However, whether the reduction of pain, as measured by visual analog pain scales, exceeds the minimal clinically significant difference is equivocal. The use of ophthalmic NSAIDs may decrease the need for sedating analgesics.

Ophthalmic NSAIDs appear to be useful for decreasing pain in patients with corneal abrasions who can afford the medication and who must return to work immediately, particularly where potential opioid-induced sedation is intolerable.

Read more here

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