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Corneal Abrasions (Scratches)

Scratches to the front window of the eye (cornea) are a very painful experience as there are many nerves in this area. The pain will get better as the scratch heals, usually over 48 hours. They are most commonly caused by finger nails or foreign bodies (grit getting into the eye). The eye often becomes very watery, red and sensitive to light. If the scratch has happened in the middle of the cornea then vision can become blurred.

At the Minor Eye Conditions Clinic we can check there’s no serious eye injury, assess for the presence and severity of any abrasion and if there’s a remaining foreign body which can often become trapped in the eyelids. Dilation of the pupil is often required for this assessment too. Foreign bodies lodged in the eyelids can often be removed in clinic, if they have become embedded in the cornea then removal is not always possible in the clinic. Following this assessment it may be necessary for a course of eye-drops or ointment to be used. Contact lenses should not be worn in the eye while it has a scratch. We will be able to advise on contact lens use following completion of treatment.

Simple first aid steps in the event of a scratch or foreign body include:

  • Wear sunglasses to ease light sensitivity
  • Take paracetamol or equivalent painkillers to ease any discomfort

If following treatment the eye becomes more blurred, red or painful a further assessment and intervention may be required.


Signs & Symptoms
  • Sudden onset of  signs & symptoms
  • Red eye
  • Watery eye
  • Pain (often severe)
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)

Book in today to the DF Optometrists’ therapeutic clinic.