Lazy Eye

Corneal abrasion: What are the symptoms?

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Corneal abrasion or a scratched eye occurs once an object such as contact lens or a fingernail scratches the eye or when sand or other objects enter the eye which damages the cornea.

Since the cornea is delicate, it is prone to injury. Depending on the severity of the corneal abrasion, the symptoms are absent, minimal, slightly annoying or severe. Remember that corneal abrasions typically heal without requiring treatment within 2 days, but it might take up to a week. The doctor should check the affected eye if it does not feel better within 2 days to rule out the likelihood of a severe eye injury.

Take note that you cannot actually see the scratch if a corneal abrasion is suspected. If there is a clear injury to the eye or if an object is embedded, seek immediate medical care.


Once the cornea is scratched, there is a feeling that an object is in the eye even if there is nothing in the eye. Depending on the severity of the corneal abrasion, it can feel similar to a sandy sensation or a big rock.

Corneal abrasion
Eye irritation is often annoying which causes the individual to rub his/her eyes in an attempt to remove the object.

Eye irritation is often annoying which causes the individual to rub his/her eyes in an attempt to remove the object. Instruct the individual to resist the urge to rub the eye. In case there is anything in the eye, rubbing will only increase the injury. Take note that even if there is nothing in the eye, rubbing can aggravate the irritation which makes the symptoms last longer. Once you suspect that there is something inside the eye, it should be washed out using water. A doctor should be consulted if the object could not be removed.

Burning sensation and pain

The indications of corneal abrasion often include a burning sensation and pain due to the injury to the delicate cornea. In most cases, the eye can turn red or might water in an attempt to wash out the object.

Since the cornea is sensitive, the pain and burning sensation are often worse than the actual injury. Even though corneal abrasion can cause intense pain, most cases do not lead to lasting eye injury. If excessive tearing or redness occurs, set an appointment with a doctor to rule out infection or an eye injury.

Can corneal abrasion cause light sensitivity?

Once the cornea is damaged, it oftentimes becomes sensitive to light. This is quite evident when outside on a sunny day. The light appears brighter if the cornea is irritated. It is similar to how the eyes respond when going outside after watching a movie in the theater.

The difference from a corneal abrasion is that the eye does not adjust to the bright light after a few minutes. Using a pair of sunglasses or covering the damaged eye using a patch can prevent discomfort if light sensitivity is present.

Blurred vision

The vision is slightly blurred once an individual has corneal abrasion. The blurred vision is only temporary and subsides once the injury has healed. It is important to rest the eye often by closing it or covering with a patch to promote healing. In case the vision is severely blurred, a doctor should be consulted to rule out a serious eye injury.

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