Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion is a disruption of the corneal epithelium.


  • This is usually caused by an injury to the eye in some form, e.g.:
    • Trauma from a large object e.g. finger(nail)s, mascara brushes, paper etc
    • Trauma from particles e.g. dust, sand, debris
    • Trauma from contact lens wear
    • Ocular foreigh body under the eyelid
    • corneal foreign body
    • UV keratitis


  • Corneal abrasions will usually be very painful, and there may be associated lacrimation and pericorneal injection of the eye.  Photophobia is usually also present.
  • Typically, abrasions will be easy to visualise with fluorescein staining.  NB some patients may require some topical anaesthetic before an examination can take place to ease the pain.
  • Other signs of corneal ulceration and infection should be looked for e.g. dendritic morphology, hypopyon etc.
  • Also other signs of trauma/damage should be sought (full ophthalmology examination)


  • Chloramphenicol ointment is often prescribed to soothe the eye as well as prevent secondary infection.  The cornea should heal in 1-2 days (normally).  If the abrasion persists for longer than 7 days, another cause should be considered e.g. trochomatis.

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