corneal abrasion

Last reviewed 01/2018

This is a superficial injury affecting only the epithelium covering the cornea.

The symptoms include:

  • pain
  • lacrimation
  • photophobia
  • blepharospasm

Fluorescein staining of the eye confirms the diagnosis if an area of increased fluorescence is present.

The conjunctiva should be thoroughly examined with eversion of the upper lid to exclude a foreign body.

Treatment includes:

  • antibiotic ointment - to prevent infection
  • firm padding for 24-48 hrs to allow healing of the epithelium
  • pain relief - instil a cycloplegic - will dilate the pupil and relieve ciliary spasm; give oral analgesia if required

Infection must be avoided; failure to do so results in corneal ulceration.