June 26, 2020

Something In Your Eye? It Could Be a Scratched Cornea

Something In Your Eye? It Could Be a Scratched Cornea

What to Do If Something’s in Your Eye

Getting something stuck in your eye is one of the quickest ways to stop you in your tracks. Whether it’s a speck of dirt, an eyelash, or a fiber from a sweater, your eye will automatically tear up, which usually washes the object out of your eye. If that doesn’t work, follow these tips below:

  • Don’t rub your eye because it can cause a scratch on the surface of your eye. This is called a corneal abrasion.
  • Don’t use cotton swabs or sharp things like tweezers to touch your eye.
  • Always wash your hands before trying to get something out of your eye.
  • If you wear contact lenses, take them out to make sure they don’t get scratched or torn. Check your lenses to make sure they’re not torn, which can cause discomfort.

To remove something from your eye, like a small speck of dirt, sand, or makeup, follow these steps:

  • If the speck is in your upper eyelid, pull your upper eyelid down over your lower eyelid and let go. When your upper eyelid slides back, the speck may come out.
  • If the speck is in your lower eyelid, pull the eyelid out and press on the skin underneath so you can see the pink part inside the eyelid. If you can see the speck, you can try to get it out with a damp cotton ball, but be careful not to touch your eyeball. You can also run a gentle stream of water over the inside of your eyelid.

Scratched Cornea (Corneal Abrasion)

The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped “window” that covers the front of your eye. A nick, scratch, or scrape of the cornea is called a corneal abrasion. Corneal abrasions are one of the most common forms of eye injury. Be careful when you’re trying to get something out of your eye because you can accidentally scratch your cornea. 

What a Scratched Cornea Feels Like

The symptoms of a scratched cornea can include the following:

  • You feel like you have sand or grit in your eye
  • You have pain, especially when you close your eye 
  • Tearing and redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision

Corneal Abrasion Treatment

Treatment for a corneal abrasion usually involves your doctor prescribing antibiotic eye drops or ointment to keep your eye from getting infected. Your doctor may also prescribe medicated eye drops to ease pain and redness, along with pain medication. If you’re extremely sensitive to light, your doctor might tape your eye shut and have you wear a patch. Most minor corneal scratches heal on their own in one to three days.

If you’re still in pain after two days, you should seek medical attention. Schedule an appointment today at Baptist Health Urgent Care.

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