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What is a corneal abrasion?
A corneal abrasion is a cut or scratch to the front surface of the eye (the cornea).  Corneal abrasions are common among both adults and children. Just under the surface of the cornea are many nerve endings, so a corneal abrasion can be painful.

What causes a corneal abrasion?

Corneal abrasions can have many causes as they are most often the result of an injury or something getting into the eye. Most common causes include:

  • wearing contact lenses longer than recommended
  • excessive rubbing of the eyes
  • scratches caused by mascara wands or other makeup tools
  • fingernail scratches
  • particles entering the eye during yard work, carpentry, auto repair, etc.

Symptoms of a corneal abrasion:

  • pain
  • light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • blurred or distorted vision
  • loss of vision
  • squinting
  • sensation there is something in the eye
  • pain lasts more than than a few hours, or is severe

Treatment of a corneal abrasion:

Corneal abrasions are a serious medical condition and can result in permanent vision loss. You should see your eye doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.  Contact lens wear should be discontinued immediately. Treatment can include antibiotic eye drops or ointment, medicated eye drops to reduce pain or inflammation, the use of a bandage contact lens or patching of the eye, and over the counter analgesics for pain relief. Corneal abrasions can require follow-up visits to your eye doctor to monitor healing.  Your eye doctor will advise you when it is safe to return to contact lens wear.