A corneal abrasion is a scratch or scrape on the cornea. This is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye.
There are many things that can cause an abrasion to your child’s cornea. The more common causes include:
When these objects come into contact with the surface of your child’s eye, they can cause an abrasion.
This condition is a common injury in children.
Symptoms can happen a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The symptoms of corneal abrasion may look like symptoms of other eye issues or health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s health history. He or she will also give your child an eye exam. Your child may receive local numbing (anesthetic) eye drops for the exam.
Your child’s healthcare provider may also order a fluorescein stain. For this test, your child’s healthcare provider will place a small amount of a dye into your child's eye. This won’t hurt your child. Then, your child’s healthcare provider will use a special light to look at the surface of the cornea to see an abrasion or scratch.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Most corneal abrasions heal quickly. They usually don’t cause any permanent damage to the eye. Your child’s treatment may include the following.
If your child’s healthcare provider sees a foreign body, he or she may remove it. He or she may use a small cotton applicator to do this. Or he or she may wash your child’s eye out with saline.
Your child may get an antibiotic ointment or steroid eye drop for his or her eye.
An eye patch can make your child more comfortable. Your child may need to wear the patch for 12 to 24 hours.
If your child has a severe abrasion or cut to the cornea, he or she has a higher risk for eye damage. He or she may need to see an eye care healthcare provider.
Your child will need follow-up care with his or her healthcare provider to make sure the abrasion fully heals. Make sure your child doesn’t rub his or her eyes. This can make the abrasion worse.
Abrasions can often be prevented. Your child should wear protective eyewear when doing activities that put his or her eyes at risk, such as during sports.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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