Corneal abrasion (scratch): First aid
The most common types of eye injury involve the cornea – the clear, protective “window” at the front of the eye. Contact with dust, dirt, sand, wood shavings, metal particles or even an 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.
Everyday activities can lead to corneal abrasions. Examples are playing sports, doing home repairs or being scratched by children who accidentally brush you cornea with a fingernail. Other common injuries to the cornea include splash accidents – contact with chemicals ranging from antifreeze to household cleaners.
Because the cornea is extremely sensitive, 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.
In case of injury, seek prompt medical attention. Other immediate steps you can take for a corneal abrasion are to: