Corneal Abrasion

Corneal abrasion

A cornea abrasion is a scratch on the cornea or surface of the eye. It is common in sport and can be caused by a finger in the eye, or from a foreign body, for example, sand or dust.


Symptoms of a corneal abrasion

  • Symptoms include pain in the eye with a gritty feeling when blinking.
  • You may have the feeling of something stuck in the eye.
  • Watering eyes, visual disturbances and a dislike of bright light are also likely symptoms of a cornea abrasion.


  • A doctor may use anaesthetic drops to make examining your eye easier.
  • They might use Flourexcein staining on your eye, then examine it under a coblt blue light. This will help locate any abrasions, lacerations or foreign bodies still in your eye.

What causes a Corneal abrasion?

A Corneal abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the eye, called the Cornea.

The most common cause of a corneal abrasion is getting a foreign object in the eye which scratches the surface. This can be from being poked in the eye with an opponent’s finger or thumb. This is more common in contact sports, especially Boxing and Rugby. Or from a leaf, twig, or sand which has blown up in the wind, that can affect cyclists.

Other causes include contact lens use. If your contact lenses are poorly fitted, overworn or unclean then they may also cause damage to the cornea.

Corneal lacerations

A corneal laceration is a tear or cut of the cornea. It is caused in the same way as an abrasion, has similar symptoms, and is treated in much the same way.

Treatment for a Corneal abrasion

  • Corneal abrasions tend to heal on their own in time. However, it is always best to seek medical advice from a doctor or optician, especially if you are in pain.
  • Antibiotic eye drops may be given to avoid infection.
  • Then your eye will be dressed with a padded eye patch for protection.
  • Local anaesthetic drops should never be given to relieve pain as they can delay healing and cause further damage to your eye.
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