Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis

The cornea functions as a “clear window” on the front of the eye. A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the cornea. This is no different than a scratch on the skin in any other location on the body; however, because of the extreme sensitivity of the cornea, abrasions are extremely painful.

Living With Your Diagnosis
The signs and symptoms of a corneal abrasion are a red, painful eye often associated with blurred vision. Although the pain can be severe, there are very few long-term effects from the abrasion and the vision in almost all instances returns to normal.

An antibiotic ointment is usually used to treat a corneal abrasion. The antibiotic helps prevent infection, and the ointment lubricates the corneal surface so that each time the eyelid blinks it does not rub against the irritated area. Abrasions will heal with or without patching the injured eye shut. At times, patching may be used to help large abrasions heal more quickly. Contact lens wearers with a corneal abrasion should never be patched because of an increased incidence of infection with corneal abrasions in contact lens wearers. There are no potential side effects or complications from the treatment of corneal abrasions. However, until the abrasions heal completely there is always a risk that the abrasion can get infected. Abrasions caused by organic material such as plant matter, or gardening equipment at a high risk for developing an infection.

The DOs
If the injury was caused by a severe blow to the eye, then a complete eye examination should be done to look for any other injuries. Patients with a corneal abrasion may use ice compresses and oral analgesics to help with pain relief. The antibiotic ointment should be applied at least two to three times during the day and definitely at bedtime to keep the ocular surface moist and well lubricated. If the eye is not patched, patients will often be more comfortable keeping the eye closed.

The DON’Ts
Topical anesthetics should never be used in treating corneal abrasions because they will prevent the abrasion from healing and can cause an infection.

When to Call Your Doctor
Corneal abrasions should always be evaluated by a physician and re-evaluated if they are slow to heal or the pain from them worsens.

American Academy of Ophthalmology Website at