Corneal abrasions can be caused by fingernails, foreign objects like makeup brushes, particles through wind, construction particles, etc. Corneal epithelium is innervated and fragile. It is very painful when it is damaged by the foreign objects. Usually healing and regeneration of the corneal epithelium is quick after the injury. The regeneration of the epithelium makes it firm and there is no chance of the infection. But damaged epithelium facilitates the bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite to enter the cornea and spread the infection. Corneal abrasion is a cut on the epithelium of the cornea due to abrasion.
Corneal abrasions are common cause of ophthalmic visit demands at emergency in United States.
Many times symptoms are delayed after several hours of the injury. The individual may experience blinking of the eye or inconvenience in the eye due to the presence of foreign body. Photophobia is also one of the symptoms observed.
Redness in eyes, pain in eyes, excessive tearing, less visual acuity symptoms occur depends on the size of the injury.
Complications can arise if there is infection of pathogen in the eye through epithelium. It may lead to corneal ulcerations, corneal erosion and sometimes permanent visual impairment.
Corneal abrasions are extremely painful when the individual moves eyelids, if injury is large.
Corneal abrasion is superficial epithelium injuries and does not penetrate till the Bowman membrane.
Corneal abrasion can also be caused due to trauma during surgeries like with needles, sutures or any other instrument used. It can be caused by entry of foreign body like dirt, dust or particles in the eye. It can be present below the eyelid and hence can harm the epithelium of the cornea. Metal pieces can be blown into the eyes of the workers who do not wear eye glasses. These can cause damage to the epithelium resulting in corneal abrasion. They may be caused by wearing contact lens improperly.
Preliminary treatment suggested to the individual with foreign body sensation in the eye is the cleaning of eyes with the saline water.
The first important step in the treatment of corneal abrasion is the removal of the foreign particle from the epithelium. To accomplish this, topical anesthesia drops are administered in the eyes and the foreign particle removed with the help of stud. Antibiotics are also administered in the eye as eye drops with intervals of three to four hours.
An eye pressure patch is recommended to the patient to prevent damage due to blinking of eye. The patch must be maintained for six to twelve hours.
Individuals with corneal abrasions must stop wearing the contact lenses till they are recovered.
Abrasions in the cornea occur due to several reasons. According to their causes they can be differentiated as