Small abrasions in the cornea are very common and they soon heal fast. This can be treated using antibiotic eye drops or eye ointments that are prescribed by doctors to guard the eyes from infection and irritation. More severe cases of corneal injuries may occur when tiny particles would come inside the eye from sawing, drilling, grinding, lawn mowing or chiseling. Another source of eye injury comes from chemical burns which can result to temporary or permanent blindness. Always consult a doctor when you think that your cornea has been damaged.
Causes of Corneal Injury
- Corneal abrasions. Blinking helps protect the cornea which is located in front of the eyes. Corneal abrasions or minute injuries due to scratches from a hairbrush or a fingernail are quite common. The person may feel severe pain as the cornea tends to be sensitive.
- Minute flying objects. When your work requires you to do drilling or to use power tools, always remember to wear eye protection to guard your eyes from flying debris such as wood or metal.
- Particles may come and get stuck in the cornea. This scenario causes pain and is very similar to corneal abrasion.
- Particles that go straight to the deeper portions of the eye and bypasses the cornea. This can happen if the particle is very small and will cause minor pain. Be sure to treat this immediately and consult your doctor as it can develop and cause greater pain.
- Chemical injuries. When handling chemicals, always put on protective eye wear as the chemicals may spill, go straight into your eyes and cause corneal chemical burn.
- Radiation damage. The arc eye is the most common type of radiation damage and this condition occurs when the person has welded and did not wear eye protection. This condition's symptoms would not develop immediately after the incident and it would include experiencing severe pain and watering of the eyes. Aside from this, radiation damage can also happen due exposure to reflected sunlight or ultraviolet exposure especially in machines that tan. The pain is excruciating but it will subside from one to two days.
If a person should suspect that they have corneal injury, always remember to immediately consult a doctor. The doctor may examine you using a magnifying instrument if some small particle has gotten into our eye. Another tool could be the use of a special eye drop called fluorescein. This eye drop would expose the parts f the cornea which has small scratches which cannot be seen normally. Aside from these basic routine, eye check-ups can also help pin point if there are more severe eye complications present in the patient.
Treatment for Corneal injury
- Chemical burn treatment. These kinds of accidents can cause temporary or permanent blindness. These can be prevented from getting worse by applying first aid:
- If the patient is wearing contact lenses, remove them immediately.
- Wash the eye immediately with lots of water continuously for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Kalis is very damaging to the cornea. This type of debris should be washed out completely from the eyes.
- After applying first aid, the patient should be taken to the nearest hospital immediately.
- Treatment for abrasions, radiation damage or flying objects. Minor corneal abrasions can heal within two to three days. But infection can always follow this. Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed as well as eye ointments or cream to prevent further spread of an infection. Paracetamol, ibuprofen and other pain killers can also be used to ease the pain.
When wood or metal particles get stuck in the cornea, this has to be immediately removed. Local anesthetic or eye drops can be used to make the removal painless. Doctors and eye specialists should be the ones to remove the particle.
For patients who wear contact lenses, they should refrain from wearing them until the cornea has fully recovered or if the patient is required to apply antibiotic eye drops. Contact lenses should not be worn for at least twenty four hours after application of eye drops.
Eye patches are not advised for patients who have corneal abrasion because it does not improve the healing of the injury nor can it reduce the pain. Also, when a patient wears an eye patch, he will stand to lose his binocular vision or the vision produced when using both eyes. But an exception for wearing an eye patch is when a local anesthetic eye drop has been utilized for assessment and the eye is left numb. But wearing the eye patch is only recommended for only a few hours until the numbness disappears.
The patient is usually referred to an eye specialist or a doctor for extensive assessment and treatment. This is very important to know if the patient has underlying and more serious eye complications and damage.
If the patient is required to drive, then he must wait for a few hours before the effect of the eye drops has worn off. Eye drops can cause the vision to be blurred and thus driving under these conditions is very dangerous and life threatening.
Preventive Measures for Corneal Injuries
- Remember to put on eye protection. When you job requires you to saw and drill, you have to wear eye protection to prevent small flying objects to get into your eyes. When you have to handle chemicals in your job or in school, never forget to wear protective goggles as it may cause chemical burn into your cornea. Take into account that when you are outdoors, exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light can be very harmful.
- Follow up check-up. The doctor can advise the patient to consult him as often as needed depending on the severity of the corneal injury. The doctor would do this to ensure that healing is happening and that no complications have arisen from the injury. If the patient should feel any pain or if he feels that the pain has worsened over time, then immediately contact your doctor to ask for advice.
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