Corneal Abrasion

Eye Anatomy

Corneal abrasion is a scratch or scrape on the cornea, the clear, round dome covering the eye's iris and pupil. By helping to focus light as it enters the eye, the cornea plays an important role in vision. When a corneal abrasion scars the cornea, it can affect vision.

To best prevent corneal abrasions, wear protective eyewear when performing tasks that may put your eyes at risk. If something gets in your eye, it is important to flush it out with water or artificial tears and avoid rubbing your eye as this can cause the cornea to be scratched or scraped.

Corneal Abrasion


A corneal abrasion is an injury (scratch, scrape or cut) to the epithelium. Abrasions are commonly caused by fingernail scratches, paper cuts, makeup brushes, scrapes from tree or bush limbs, and rubbing the eye. Some eye conditions, such as dry eye, increase the chance of an abrasion.

Symptoms may include:

  • The feeling of having something in your eye
  • Pain and soreness of the eye
  • Redness of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing
  • Blurred vision


A minor corneal abrasion will heal on its own in a few days. Your ophthalmologist may put antibiotic eye drops or ointment in your eyes or use steroid eyedrops to reduce inflammation and reduce the chance of scarring.

For more serious corneal abrasions treatment may include:

  • Patching the injured eye to prevent eyelid blinking from irritating the injury
  • Dilating the pupil to relieve the pain
  • Wearing a special contact lens to help healing