Corneal Abrasion

If the cornea is abraded, it may produce severe pain that is aggravated by movements of the upper eyelid. The cornea does not contain blood vessels, but it has an abundant supply of nerves that readily perceive pain.

Any pain in the eye should receive prompt medical attention, for abrasions or ulcers could be present. Ulcers are a major cause of visual loss and possible blindness.

If the doctor cannot visually detect a corneal abrasion, he may instill a dye called fluorescein and examine it with a special instrument called a slit lamp. These give a greatly magnified picture, and as the abrasion absorbs the dye it will often show up as a deep shade of green.

Special eye drops are then administered (usually a potent antibiotic that will help prevent bacterial growth), and the eye bandaged to limit movement of the eyelid. Abrasions often heal within 24- 48 hours when treated in this manner. It is very important that complete healing take place, otherwise the abrasion may develop into a more serious ulcer.