Cornea is the defensive window that covers your visual apparatus or eye to protect the circle present in the center of your eye – i.e. the pupil as well as the colored region of the eye i.e. the iris.
Scratched cornea is usually caused as a result of a direct physical contact with an external element or foreign body that can result in scratches on your eye like contact lens, branch of tree or a flying debris of power tool. With more severe impact or force of contact, moderate to severe harm to cornea is also possible (also referred to as corneal abrasion). Most of the scratches in an otherwise complicated scratched cornea are not severe and heal without any medical interference but sometimes it can cause infection leading to swelling or scar formation in your eye (that can negatively affect vision). So, as precaution it is always recommended to consult a doctor in case of an injury to your cornea.
What Are the Symptoms of a Scratched Cornea?
Scratched cornea can possibly occur as a result of inflammation to iris (also known as iritis), so it is required to pay special treatment in order to manage it at earliest convenience. When a person gets scratched cornea, it can be very difficult to forget the pain and irritation caused by it. Some of the symptoms that indicates the presence of scratched cornea include:
Itchiness like having sand or dust in an eye
Extreme pain on even the slightest movement of your eye, such as opening and closing of eye
Red eye and constant tearing
Your eye cannot stand light
Blurred or sometimes loss of vision
You need to be very careful in such sensitive cases they can not only result in infection and erosion but can also cause permanent eye damage and vision problems. So, minor symptoms related to eyes should be reported and discussed with your doctor and must not be ignored.
Scratched Cornea First Aid
If scratched eye is neglected, it can severely damage your visual apparatus and can also result in causing ulceration in the involved eye, so you must take necessary steps for medical treatment, some steps as cornea abrasion first aid can be:
Rinsing eyes with tap water can help in alleviating the inflammation, pain and soreness. You can also use saline solution for rinsing. Rinsing helps washing out all the objects that may entered into the eye causing scratched cornea. A small eyecup or a clean glass can also be used with the rim resting on your eye socket bone.
Blinking your eye for several times can help move out the object or foreign body that is causing the irritation or scratching.
Use your tears to remove the external object that is causing the scratched cornea. This can be done by pulling your upper eye lid over the lower one. It will help remove the object by tearing or by bushing it with the lashes.
Scratched Cornea Treatment and Prognosis
There are numerous treatments suggested for scratched cornea, some of them are:
Ointment or eye drops with antibiotics helps prevent from infection and provide relief from pain and irritation. Medical ointments and eye drops can also be used.
Patching the scratched eye also works sometimes.
Over-the-counter painkillers or analgesics can also be used to release the pain temporarily. If you have heart or kidney problems, you should avoid ibuprofen and all other NSAIDs. Some medications that are suggested include acetaminophen, ibuprofen.
Corneal Abrasion Healing Time
Normally scratched cornea does not take much time to get better, it heals in 2 or lesser days but if the problem stays longer, you must consult an eye specialist. Things that can make the situation worse include:
Trying to remove the object using your fingers or any other tool
Rubbing can increase the irritation and make the condition even worse
Touching the eye ball with tweezers or cotton swabs
It is highly recommended to avoid contact lenses altogether until the problem is fully solved
How to Prevent a Scratched Cornea
Wear glasses when move outside to protect any object entering into an eye causing scratched eye. Use sunglasses to prevent eyes from UV rays.
Carefully use house cleaning solutions; they contain harmful chemicals that can cause severe injuries or even permanent blindness when come in contact with your eyes.
Make sure that you are comfortable with your lenses and they are fit on your eyes. If they are not placed or fit correctly, the risk of causing inflammation or scratched cornea increases.
Following are some conditions or pre-requisites that must be kept in mind while using contact lenses:
They should fit perfectly on your eyes
They should not be worn on dry eyes
They should be properly cleaned before applying
Remove them carefully with clean hands
Do not wear lenses for too long.
Do not sleep with contact lenses in your eyes