Corneal abrasion (scratch)
First aid: Corneal abrasion (scratch)
The most common types of eye injuries involve the cornea — the clear, protective "window" at the front of your eye. Contact with dust, dirt, sand, wood shavings, metal particles or even the edge of a piece of paper can scratch or cut the cornea. Usually the scratch is superficial, and this is called a corneal abrasion. Some corneal abrasions become infected and result in a corneal ulcer, which is a serious problem. Corneal abrasions caused by plant matter (such as a pine needle) can cause a delayed inflammation inside the eye (iritis).
Corneal abrasions can be painful. If your cornea is scratched, you might feel like you have sand in your eye. Tears, blurred vision, increased sensitivity or redness around the eye can suggest a corneal abrasion. You may get a headache.
In case of corneal abrasion, seek prompt medical attention. Other immediate steps you can take for a corneal abrasion are to:
Take caution to avoid certain actions that may aggravate the injury:
Uncomplicated corneal abrasions usually heal spontaneously within 24 to 48 hours.
Last Updated: 2012-01-25
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Terms and conditions of use