corneal abrasion

A corneal abrasion occurs when the surface layer of the cornea (the clear tissue that covers our eye) gets scratched.  This usually occurs when a foreign body, like a piece of sand, gets into the eye.  The surface layer of the eye is extremely thin and scratches easily.  Fortunately, this tissue also heals quickly and most abrasions heal within a few days.  Unfortunately, this process can be painful as there are more nerve endings in the cornea than anywhere else in the body.  Treatment is usually geared toward avoiding infection with antibiotics.  If the abrasion is large, painful, or healing slowly, other treatments may be instituted like patching the eye closed or putting a “bandage” contact lens on the eye.  When an abrasion becomes infected, we call this a corneal ulcer. Most abrasions heal with no long-term consequences.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

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