How to Heal a Scratched Cornea
Contact lens wearers seems to be at the greatest risk of experiencing a scratched cornea – defined as an irritation of the translucent part of the eye that covers the pupil and iris, although this condition is not limited to contact lens wearers. It’s important to wear some sort of protective lenses when doing any sort of work that throws up dirt, dust or debris that could enter your eyes.
Sensitivity to light accompanied by a sharp pain, excessive tearing and blurry vision are all indications that your cornea has most likely suffered a scratch. There are several steps to take to speed up the healing process and to avoid further complications which might permanently alter your vision.
As soon as you notice pain or tearing, remove your contact lenses or your eyeglasses and flush your eye with liberal amounts of cool water. If you don’t have an eye cup to wash the eyeball, stand over the sink and splash water into your eye with clean hands in an attempt to remove whatever piece of dirt or dust caused the cornea scratch.
Soak a wash cloth in cold water, squeeze until damp, and place atop your affected eye to minimize pain and swelling. As much as possible, keep your eye closed to prevent further irritation from light.
Visit the Eye Doctor
Although most scratched corneas heal within a few days, don’t guess at the severity of the scratch. Call your eye doctor or visit the local emergency room to determine just how severe the scratch is and if any dirt remains embedded in the eye. Under proper magnification and by applying vision tests, your eye doctor or health care professional can determine the best next course of action to begin healing the scratched cornea.
Any scratch of the cornea is serious, and a prescribed antibiotic medication to help numb the eye during the healing process may be called for. Without medication, you may experience continuing pain and risk infection. Take a day or two off from using your eyes for any close up work including computers or reading if at all possible to give them a rest.
It’s a good idea to continue applying cold compresses at least 2 to 3 times daily to minimize swelling. If you are a contact lens wearer, discontinue using your contacts until your scratched cornea is completely healed or you will risk irritating the area again and delay the healing process.