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The cornea is a transparent part of the eye. It allows entrance of light and is located in the anterior part of the eye ( it comes in direct contact with both upper and lower eye lids). Even though the eyelids prevent entering of foreign particles they may fail to protect the cornea and the damage occurs.

Scratched cornea is an eye condition which features with disruption of the integrity of the cornea. This is a very painful condition but, fortunately, does not lead to permanent damage to the vision. Scratched cornea is medically known as corneal abrasion. It may occur due to many factors such as foreign particles, excessive and inadequate use of lenses etc.

What Causes Scratched Cornea?

There is a variety of foreign particles which can enter the eye and cause scratched cornea. Once these particles enter the eye they adhere to the superficial layer of the cornea. The cornea becomes irritated and a person starts to scratch the affected eye which only pushes foreign particles deeper into corneal tissues. For example, scratched cornea may occur due to sawdust, sand, paint chips, metal fragments etc. Furthermore, it is also possible to damage the cornea in a particular way with the hot cigarette ash. Any excess of rubbing of the irritated eye may eventually result in the scratched cornea. People who wear eye lenses are more susceptible to this condition. It is also common in people who manipulate with tiny little particles which are able to enter the eye (especially if there is no proper protection gear). And finally, scratched cornea is also possible in people exposed to ultraviolet lamps.

What are Symptoms of Scratched Cornea?

Since the cornea is well innervated any kind of damage to its tissue (even minor one) results in intensive pain. This is why severe pain is the leading symptom of scratched cornea. An injured person complains about itchy sensation and reports that 'there is something' in his/ her eye. The presence of foreign particles cause corneal irritation and patients tend to scratch their eyes. Rubbing and further pushing of the foreign particle deeper into corneal tissue lead to inflammation and subsequent corneal edema. Additional symptoms of scratched cornea include increased and constant tearing from the affected eye, sensitivity to light, redness of the affected eye, excessive blinking, squinting and blurred vision.

Each and every person who has suffered an injury to the eye and has some of the previously mentioned symptoms and signs is due to consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. It is strictly forbidden for one to try to remove foreign particles from the eye. Unprofessional removal can cause serious and potentially irreversible damage to the eye and the sight.

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