- Scratches from fingernails (human and animal)
- Foreign objects hitting the cornea (eg, dirt, wood splinters, metal shavings, plants, tree branches)
- Curling irons
- Excessive rubbing of the eye
- Overexposure to ultraviolet light
- Arc welding light exposure
- Over wearing of contact lenses
- Ill-fitting contact lenses
- Torn contact lenses
- Makeup brushes
- Paper cuts
- Chemical burns
- Irregular eyelashes rubbing the cornea or falling off into the eye
- A foreign object that gets caught under the eyelid, which then irritates the cornea each time you blink
- Inability to fully close the eyelids
- Abnormalities of the lid position
- Severe dry eye conditions
- Severe, chronic blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
Most simple corneal abrasions will heal on their own within a day or two at most. Other things that help include:
- Keeping the eye shut
- Never rubbing the injured eye
- Immediately removing a contact lens – contact lens wearers should always have a back-up pair of glasses for when contact lenses should not be worn
- Using artificial tears to bathe the eye
- Using clean water to rinse the eye and wash out suspect foreign matter
- Using sunglasses to reduce light sensitivity
- Wearing protective eyewear for all conditions that might result in a corneal abrasion, such as working around the garden, working on grinding machines, etc
- Being extra careful when using makeup brushes and curling irons
- Taking excellent care of and using excellent hygiene with contact lenses
- Never sleeping in contact lenses, regardless of manufacture notes
If the corneal abrasion heals and then suddenly recurs days later, this may be a sign of recurrent erosion, which requires specific medical care by an ophthalmologist. Use of topical anesthetic solutions is only for purposes of diagnosis. Using these drops more than once or twice is dangerous because it slows healing and could lead to more serious conditions.
- Lots of watery tearing.
- Sensitivity to light (especially bright light).
- Blurry vision.
- Redness of the eye.
- Spasm of the muscles surrounding the eye resulting in squinting.
- Persistent pain beyond the first day or pain that is increasing despite self-care.
- You suspect that a piece of metal, wood, or plant material hit the eye with high speed and may have penetrated the eye, not just irritated it.
- Any abrasion caused by chemicals, heat burn, makeup brushes, or plant materials.
- You suspect that a foreign object really is stuck in your eye.
- Recurrence of the pain and other symptoms days after the initial injury.
- Mucoid or pus-like discharge.
- No improvement with self-care after 24 hours.
- Progressive vision loss.