Corneal Abrasion Treatment in Huntington Beach
19671 Beach Blvd. Suite 400 Huntington Beach, California 92648
One of the most common injuries to the eye is an abrasion. In this condition the surface layer of the eye (epithelium) is removed by such dangerous intruders such as baby’s fingernails, tree limbs and the like. Abrasions are very painful and can cause excessive tearing, redness, and blurred vision.
Our eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group in Huntington Beach have decades of experience and are dedicated to providing a comfortable environment for our patients. With high-quality results and your safety in mind, we use advanced technology to improve your eye health and restore vision.
How Does a Corneal Abrasion Heal?
Corneal abrasions usually heal in a short period of time. A good night’s sleep is curative in most instances. Treatment consists of a tight patch to keep the lids from moving and pain relievers as needed for comfort. Often an antibiotic is instilled into the eye because an abrasion invites infection. Abrasions covering small areas heal rapidly. Those covering more than one third of the cornea may take a day or two to completely cover over again.
In the office a local anesthetic is instilled into the eye for temporary relief and for ease in making a reasonable examination of the injury. (Repeated use of the anesthetic can harm the eye and is therefore NOT used in the treatment of abrasions).
Permanent loss of vision is very rare with superficial abrasions. It may take several weeks for all of the blurriness to resolve, but this is almost always the case.
It is important to NOT rub the eyes during the healing phase. The new cells have poor connections to the underlying tissue and can easily be rubbed off. When this occurs, the pain returns and re-patching is necessary.
Can A Healed Corneal Abrasion Come Back?
Occasionally, long after an abrasion has healed it recurs spontaneously, often upon awakening in the morning. This is called recurrent corneal erosion and represents an area of epithelium that is not “glued” down well to the deeper parts of the cornea.
The treatment is similar to that for an abrasion. Sometimes we prick the bare surface of the cornea with a needle to help form better connections between these two surfaces. Bedtime ointments and other forms of lubrication are also helpful in preventing the troublesome complication.
Corneal Abrasion FAQ
How is Corneal Abrasion Diagnosed?
You will likely know right away that something is wrong with the surface layer of your eye after an eye injury. While a tree branch that clips you as you walk by or cycle down a hiking path is an easy culprit to identify, other potential reasons for a corneal abrasion may not be as obvious.
If you wear contact lenses, you can cause the injury yourself. Corneal abrasion may happen if you try to take out your contact lens from one eye when there is no lens there. Trying to grip and remove a contact that has already been taken out can create a small scrape on the cornea from the friction and force.
Whether you remember scraping your eye or not, our eye doctors can confirm a corneal abrasion through a slit lamp examination. The slit lamp exam uses special fluorescein dye to highlight abnormalities on the cornea’s surface. Our physicians will look for foreign bodies and signs of infection that may be involved in the corneal abrasion.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may experience a gritty sensation, light sensitivity, eye redness, blurry vision, headache or eye pain.
When Should I Seek Treatment for Corneal Abrasion?
Some corneal abrasions heal on their own without medical intervention. However, you should schedule an eye exam at Clarity Eye Group if you experience severe or worsening symptoms such as ongoing eye pain that lasts more than a few hours, extreme light sensitivity and blurry vision. (You should seek medical treatment whenever an eye injury causes lasting vision changes.)
The object that caused the corneal abrasion may still be in the eye, such as a splinter of wood from a tree, a part of your infant’s nail or dirt. Even if you can’t identify a foreign object, you may still feel like something is inside your eye. Our eye doctors will closely examine the surface of your eye to ensure there are no small particles stuck in the area that can cause further damage.
Make sure you avoid rubbing your eyes. Minor corneal abrasions often heal in a matter of days, but larger scraps will take longer and may require additional treatment. If you’re concerned about an eye injury after something or someone scratches your eye, it’s best to contact Clarity Eye Group to ensure your eye health and safety.
Who Is at Risk for Corneal Abrasion?
Depending on your profession and the types of activities you engage in, you may have an increased risk of eye injuries, including corneal abrasions. People who work in construction, participate in contact sports or lead an active lifestyle outdoors are more likely to experience eye injuries. Wearing protective eyewear is crucial to preventing corneal abrasion. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), protective eyewear such as goggles may reduce work-related eye injuries by over 90 percent. Athletes may also lower their risk by using appropriate eyewear for their sport, such as polycarbonate lenses for basketball players.
If you have small children, make sure their fingernails are often trimmed to avoid a flailing infant hand damaging your eye. Contact lens wearers who use damaged lenses or wear their contacts for longer than they are supposed to may experience corneal abrasion and other eye problems, including infection.
Contact Clarity Eye Group to Schedule Your Eye Exam
If you are experiencing symptoms of a corneal abrasion, contact our eye doctors in Huntington Beach today to schedule your eye exam.