Corneal abrasions happen when something scratches the surface of the eye, or cornea. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. When foreign objects have contact with a child’s eye, a small abrasion can occur.
There are a wide variety of things that can cause an abrasion to the cornea. The more common causes are when foreign bodies enter the eye such as dirt, pebbles, and insects, or a scratch from a toy or fingernail. It can even happen when children rub their eyes too forcefully, are exposed to harsh chemicals, or even play sports without proper eye protection.
If your child is experiencing pain and redness in the eye, excessive tearing of their eyes, pain when they look at light, or excessive blinking in one or both eyes, they may need to seek medical treatment.
It’s important to note that corneal abrasions are actually very common in children and most are minor and do, in most cases, heal on their own. However, depending on the severity of the corneal abrasion, necessary treatment may include:
- Removal of the foreign body seen in the eye with a small cotton applicator or by washing the eye out with saline solution
- Antibiotic drops, ointment or steroid eye drops
- A patch over the eye to decrease any discomfort your child might be facing while it heals. Patches are only usually required 12 to 24 hours.
After the initial visit, a followup appointment is usually required to ensure the abrasion heals completely. In severe cases, your child may be sent to an eye specialist.