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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > Corneal Injury: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Eyes and Vision

Corneal Injury

Corneal Injury | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the injury?

Treatment of corneal abrasions can begin at the site of the injury. Chemicals or small debris in the eye may be removed by rinsing the eye thoroughly with water. Some good options for rinsing the eye include:

  • a garden hose at a very low flow
  • a glass or other container full of water
  • a shower
  • a sink
  • a water fountain
  • The eyelids must be held apart so that all parts of the eye are washed. This washing must be done within minutes of the injury. The corner of a facial tissue or the tip of a cotton applicator may be used to remove any remaining small debris. The bottom of a paper cup can be taped over the eye to protect it from further injury.

    Large foreign bodies or metal objects should be removed by the healthcare provider. The eye may be numbed with a local anesthetic. A cotton-tipped applicator moistened with saline or salt water may be used to remove the material. If this does not work, the object can be removed, under the microscope, with a small instrument. Once the object has been removed, antibiotic drops or ointments may be prescribed to prevent infection.

    A healthcare provider should always examine chemical burns to the eye. The burns can be severe and damage the eye in a short period of time. These types of injuries can result in complications, even years after the initial injury. In cases of scratches and chemical burns, the provider will use dilating drops and antibiotics.

    Corneal lacerations require immediate medical attention. Repairs are done right away, using general anesthesia. General anesthesia means the person is put to sleep with medicine.

    Corneal abrasions and lacerations can be quite painful, and they increase the person's risk for infection. Pain medicines and tetanus booster shots may be ordered by the healthcare provider.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Drops, ointments, and oral antibiotics may cause allergic reactions or irritation. Surgery may cause bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to anesthesia.

    What happens after treatment for the injury?

    Most of the time, treatment is effective and the person has no long-term effects from the injury. Severe injuries, however, may cause permanent visual impairments .

    Sometimes the injured area will not heal, and the person will have recurrent corneal injuries. Antibiotic drops and rewetting drops to keep the cornea wet will usually help the eye heal. Frequent rewetting of the cornea is necessary, over months, to allow this area to heal completely. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Corneal Injury: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: William Stevens, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/14/01

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