The eye is one of the most delicate, yet most exposed parts of the body. It is for this particular reason that eye injuries are a fairly common occurrence. Eye scratches usually take the top of the list of eye injuries. They can occur in many ways and forms, but the most common is corneal abrasion, where the cornea experiences a slight scratch. A scratched eye can be irritating and painful at first. If proper care is not taken, the situation could worsen, and one may be looking at multiple infections in the eye and a possibility of blindness.
Scratched Cornea – Causes
There are numerous ways in which the eye can be scratched. These range from fist fights, sports to simple home accidents. Depending on the severity of the injury, one should consider medical attention almost immediately.
The eye usually falls victim to entry of objects and materials that should otherwise not even be close to the eye in the first place. From tree branches to papers to makeup brushes, the things we interact with everyday are ultimately the ones that put the eyes in the line of injury. Regardless of the size of the material, if it makes its way to the eye, chances are, the cornea will be affected.
For individuals who wear contact lenses, they increase their chances of getting a scratched eye, particularly if the lens gets damaged or broken during an unfortunate incident such as a fight. Replacing the lens also takes some technique and if inefficiently done, it could cause damage to the cornea. Wearing contact lenses too long also serves as a risk factor.
Symptoms of a scratched cornea
One of the most sensitive parts of the body is the cornea. Because of this fact, getting an injury on the eye is fairly easy to detect. The sensitivity of the cornea is what makes it very prone to injury. It does not necessarily have to be a traumatic event, even the most minor of cases that involve the eye can lead to a scratch. Headaches, blurry vision and a sudden short sightedness are also symptoms associated with a scratched eye. In extreme situations, one may feel some slight nausea, in which case medical attention should be sought immediately.
A distinct symptom that the eye has been scratched is the sudden sensitivity to light. This may not have been the case before, but when one is suddenly repelled by bright light, then it could mean something has affected the eye. The reaction to light may also come with teary eyes, with many of the individuals having watery eyes without any particular emotional stimulation.
Eye pain is another common symptom, with an irritating sensation prompting one to constantly have the urge to rub the affected eye, consequently leading to eye redness.
People who suspect to have scratched eye should expect a number of behavioral changes as far as the eye is concerned. For one thing, there will be a constant urge to rub the eye as stated earlier. While the eye may be tempting to relieve through rubbing, people are highly cautioned against it.
As much as it feels like something is on the eye, patching it up or rubbing on it will only aggravate the problem. Patching the eye is particularly dangerous because the warm dark spots are breeding grounds for bacteria. This will therefore put the eye at even more risk for infection.
Treating a scratched eye will depend on the severity of the injury. This is not to say that the severity is related to the incident. A poked eye, for example, may be more severe than an eye that has been accidentally brushed by a makeup brush.
Minor eye scratches can heal within a few days. They can however be treated using lubricating drops that help keep the affected eye moist as the healing process continue.
Severe scratches can initially be treated using eye drops with antibacterial properties to prevent infection. Afterwards, they can be treated by what is known as bandage contact lenses. They are used with eye drops to ease eye pain and provide protection to the affected area. The bandage contact lenses are also known to speed up the healing process.
Scratched Cornea – Healing Time
After the first trip to the optometrist, he or she may require to make a follow up of the eye progress 24 hours after the first appointment. As a precaution, regular lenses should not be worn while the injured eye is still recuperating. Wearing these lenses could cause further damage to an already injured eye. The eye doctor should be in a position to recommend the best time to resume wearing the lenses, depending on the estimated healing time of the eye.
Most eye scratches, if treated early enough, should only take a few days to heal. Within the second week, one should be able to fully resume their daily routine. Follow up appointments with the eye doctor are very crucial in the healing process, as the doctor will be able to monitor the progress and prescribe the best form of medication for quick recovery.