Scratched eye (Corneal abrasion)
The medical term for a scratch or scrape to the front of the eye is a ‘corneal abrasion’, which is one of the most common eye injuries. It can often cause discomfort, red eyes, and a strong sensitivity to light. Corneal abrasions happen when the top layer of cells of the cornea (called the corneal epithelium) are disrupted or lost.
Signs of corneal abrasion
Signs and symptoms of a scratched eye include:
If you experience any of these symptoms or changes to vision, it’s important to get your eyes checked quickly.
Causes of scratched eye
There are many ways to get a corneal abrasion. No matter the size, anything that contacts the surface of the eye can cause injury. Common causes include airborne particles such as dust or sand, and any object which hits the open eye, for example during children’s playtime or DIY activities.
Dry eyes can increase your risk of corneal abrasion through insufficient lubrication of the eye. Dry areas cause the corneal surface to become fragile and therefore much more likely to become damaged, even during something as simple as rubbing your eye.
Corneal abrasion treatment
The majority of corneal abrasions slowly self-heal over several days. However, because the surface damage makes the eye more susceptible to infection, scratched eye treatment can require antibiotic eye drops or ointment.