By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
Your little one is playing outside, having a fun time, when they suddenly start crying. They say that they got dirt or sand in their eye and now it hurts. Your child may have a corneal abrasion. Read on as we talk about what that means and how they’re treated.
What is a corneal abrasion?
A corneal abrasion occurs when the cornea – the clear, front portion of the eye – is scratched or injured. This can happen when the eye surface is scratched by something like dirt, bugs, a toy, or a fingernail. These injuries are very common in children, CEENTA Ophthalmologist and cornea specialist James Kaufmann, MD, said. They are also not usually very serious, are very treatable, and generally heal quickly. Long-term vision is rarely impacted.
What are the symptoms of a corneal abrasion?
Your child may show several different signs of a corneal abrasion, including:
– Eye pain
– A red eye
– Light sensitivity
– A feeling of something in the eye
How is a corneal abrasion treated?
Even though abrasions are usually not serious, you should still bring your child to the eye doctor for an examination. Sometimes the doctor will put a special drop called fluorescein on your child’s eye, then look at it under a special light. If there are any abrasions, they will show up under the light.
Before you get to the doctor, gently rinse your child’s eye. This can help wash away any irritants. Having your child blink can also stimulate tear production and wash out any foreign object. However, if you do see something in their eye and it’s not washing out, don’t try to remove it. Doing so may further scratch the cornea. Instead, let the doctor remove any foreign material.
The doctor may place antibiotic drops or ointment in your child’s eye, Dr. Kaufmann said. In some cases, your doctor may also have your child wear an eyepatch to aid in healing and ease any discomfort.
Make a follow-up appointment to have your child’s doctor check their eye again, especially if it isn’t improving or their symptoms get worse.
While a corneal abrasion might sound serious, care from your child’s doctor will have your youngster seeing clearly and playing normally again in no time.
Dr. Kaufmann practices in CEENTA’s Salisbury office. To make an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s eye doctors, call 704-295-3000.