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Corneal Injuries: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment at PVRI

Corneal Injuries

The cornea is the transparent dome-shaped structure at the front of your eye, responsible for focusing light and protecting the inner parts of your eye. A corneal injury can be a frightening experience, but fortunately, most corneal injuries are minor and heal well with prompt treatment.

This blog post from PVRI, a leading eye hospital, will guide you through understanding corneal injuries, including their causes, emergency management steps, and long-term care options.

Understanding the Cornea

The cornea is a vital part of your vision. It acts like a window, allowing light to enter your eye and focus it onto the retina, where the image is formed. The cornea is also the first line of defence against dust, debris, and germs.

What are Corneal Injuries?

A corneal injury refers to any damage to the cornea. This can range from a minor scratch (corneal abrasion) to a deeper cut or puncture. Corneal injuries are surprisingly common, affecting millions of people each year [1].

What Causes Corneal Injuries?

There are several ways a corneal injury can occur. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Foreign objects: Getting something in your eye, like sand, dust, a twig, or a piece of metal, can scratch the cornea.
  • Scratches: Accidentally scratching your eye with your fingernail, makeup brush, or another object can cause a corneal abrasion.
  • Contact lens use: Improper contact lens hygiene, overuse, or a poorly fitting lens can irritate or scratch the cornea.
  • Chemical burns: Exposure to chemicals, like household cleaners or industrial chemicals, can burn the cornea.
  • Thermal burns: Heat sources like hot oil or flames can damage the cornea.
  • Ultraviolet radiation: Excessive exposure to UV light, from sunlight, welding, or tanning beds, can cause a sunburn-like injury to the cornea.
  • Blunt trauma: A blow to the eye during sports or an accident can damage the cornea.

Symptoms of a Corneal Injury

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a potential eye injury, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately:

  • Pain in the eye
  • Scratching or burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your eye
  • Tearing
  • Redness in the eye

Emergency Management of a Corneal Injury

If you suspect a corneal injury, follow these steps immediately:

  1. Stop rubbing your eye: Rubbing can worsen the injury and increase the risk of infection.
  2. Flush your eye: If there’s a foreign object, try gently flushing your eye with clean water or a sterile saline solution.
  3. Cover your eye: Use a clean eye patch to protect the injured eye.
  4. Seek medical attention: Don’t attempt to treat a corneal injury yourself. See an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for Corneal Injuries at PVRI

At PVRI, our experienced ophthalmologists will assess your corneal injury and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan. The course of treatment will depend on the injury’s severity, with options including

  • Antibiotic eye drops: Eliminating bacteria that cause eye infections
  • Pain relievers: To manage discomfort.
  • Eye patch: To protect the cornea and promote healing.
  • Artificial tears: eye drops that soothe and moisturize dry, irritated eyes.
  • Bandage contact lens: In some cases, a special contact lens may be used to protect the cornea and promote healing.
  • Surgical intervention: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a severe corneal injury.

Long-Term Care for Corneal Injuries

Following your doctor’s instructions for medication and eye care is crucial for optimal healing. It’s also important to avoid activities that could irritate the eye or increase the risk of re-injury.

Preventing Corneal Injuries

Several steps can be taken to reduce your risk of a corneal injury:

  • Wear protective eyewear: Wear safety glasses during activities that could put your eyes at risk, such as sports, yard work, or home improvement projects.
  • Practise good contact lens hygiene: Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for cleaning and storing your contact lenses.
  • Avoid touching your eyes: Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes unless necessary.
  • Wear sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses that block UV rays can help protect your eyes from sun damage.


Corneal injuries are a common eye problem, but with prompt medical attention and proper care, most heal well without lasting complications.

When to See an Ophthalmologist at PVRI

If you experience any symptoms of a corneal injury, such as pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, or a foreign object sensation in your eye, it‘s crucial to see an ophthalmologist right away. The sooner you get diagnosed and treated, the better your chances are of a full recovery with no lasting issues.

PVRI – Your Partner in Eye Care

At PVRI, our team of highly skilled and experienced ophthalmologists are dedicated to providing comprehensive is compassionate eye care. We offer advanced diagnostic tools and the latest treatment options for corneal injuries and other eye conditions.


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