The cornea is a clear, dome-shaped structure that protects the front of your eye. Corneal abrasions and corneal ulcers are common conditions that we often see and treat in our centers. Here’s everything you need to know about these potentially serious eye conditions.
1) Corneal Abrasions Are Scratches of the Cornea.
Corneal abrasions happen when you sustain a scratch on the external surface of your eye. Common causes of corneal abrasions include trauma from fingernails and other sharp objects, foreign bodies, and improper contact lens use. Untreated corneal abrasion is a common cause of red-eye.
2) Corneal Ulcers Are Different than Corneal Abrasions.
Corneal ulcers are open sores that can cause localized pain, light sensitivity, and inflammation. They’re most often caused by bacterial infections rather than trauma.
3) Contact Lens Users Are at Higher Risk of Corneal Injuries.
People who wear contact lenses are at a higher risk of corneal injuries for several reasons. First, contact lenses decrease the amount of oxygen that’s supplied to the cornea. Also, contact lenses that don’t fit properly can cause corneal injuries. The process of inserting and removing contact lenses can cause localized eye trauma. And lastly, contacts that aren’t cleaned or stored properly can lead to corneal infections.
4) Corneal Ulcers and Abrasions Can Often Be Prevented.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to prevent corneal ulcers and injuries. First, wear appropriate protective eyewear when you’re working. More than 65,000 work-related eye injuries happen every year, and most of these injuries could be prevented by workers wearing appropriate protective eyewear. Also, make sure to have regular eye exams and contact lens checks if you wear contact lenses. And always wash your hands before touching your eyes, including inserting and removing contact lenses.
5) Corneal Abrasions and Ulcers Are Treated with Antibiotic Drops.
Corneal ulcers and abrasions can lead to vision loss or blindness if not treated appropriately. To prevent these long-term risks, ulcers and abrasions are usually treated with antibiotic eye drops, which eliminate bacteria and prevent corneal injuries from worsening.
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At GoHealth Urgent Care, we offer care for eye infections and injuries seven days a week.
Written by Sarah Thebarge, Physician Assistant