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First Aid & Emergencies

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Scratched Eye/Corneal Abrasion Treatment

Seek emergency care if:

  • There is pain, change in vision, or increased sensitivity to light after a scratch or trauma to the eyeball.
  • There is a foreign object lodged in the eye or eyelid.
  • Something hit the eye at high speed or with high force.

1. Clean and Protect the Eye

  • Inspect the eye for small particles that may be stuck under the eyelid and causing symptoms.
  • Flush the eye with clean water or saline solution once or twice to remove any particles or to soothe the eye surface. Do not rinse the eye more than a few times. Doing so can make the situation worse.
  • Avoid rubbing or pressing on the eye.

2. When to See a Health Care Provide

Get medical help if:

  • The person has blurred vision or eye pain, tearing, redness, or irritation even if there does not appear to be something in the eye. There may be a scratch on the surface of the eye called a corneal abrasion.

3. Follow Up

If you see a health care provider:

  • The health care provider will examine the eye for damage, remove any particles, and check the vision.
  • Antibiotic ointment or pain relievers may be prescribed.
  • For larger abrasions, care from an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) may be needed.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 17, 2013

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