The cornea is the transparent front part of the eyeball. It covers the iris, pupil and creates the front wall of the anterior chamber. This part of the eyeball together with the lens allows the light to enter the eye and reach the retina. The cornea is approximately 0.5 mm thick. There are no blood vessels in the cornea and this makes it transparent.
Scratched cornea, also known as corneal abrasion, is a rather painful condition. The fine and delicate epithelial tissue of the cornea can be scratched by a various foreign particles such as sand, dust etc. The condition heals easily and completely but the very symptoms and signs can be unbearable.
Causes of Scratched Cornea
This type of injury may occur in different ways. It most commonly occurs if the eye is accidentally poked. Furthermore, numerous particles such as wood shavings, sand, small metal particles etc may enter the eye and cause corneal abrasion. Once these particles have entered the eye they lead to irritation. If a person starts rubbing the affected eye the particles cause even more serious damage to the cornea. Scratched cornea may also develop as a consequence of exposure to ultraviolet light from welding arcs. So majority of causes are actually related to certain professions in which people are exposed to certain particles that enter the unprotected eye and cause corneal abrasion. Furthermore, wearing contact lenses longer than recommended is another potential cause of scratched cornea. And finally, certain parts of plants such as leaf particles and pine needles may also lead to accidental corneal abrasion.
Symptoms of Scratched Cornea
The presence of small particles on the cornea causes its irritation. The surrounding mucous membrane is red and swollen and the eye produces excessive amount of tears and is highly sensitive to light. One feels the presence of foreign particles in the eye. The pain occurs in case the cornea is severely damaged. The vision may be blurred and one may also suffer from headaches.
Treatment for Scratches Cornea
Once the symptoms have occurred a person is supposed to rinse the affected eye with running tap water and go to a health care provider as soon as possible. The injured eye must not be rubbed and one should not try to remove the particles since unprofessional removal may only cause certain complications. The removal of the foreign particles can be only performed by a well experienced ophthalmologist. During the recovery the eye must not be exposed to light and any kind of activities such as reading, watching television and similar are forbidden for certain period of time. The patient will be also prescribed certain medications and the symptoms will reduce within a couple of days. In severe damage the eye is covered with a medicated patch.