The cornea is the clear dome in the front of the eye. It covers the iris (the colored portion of the eye) and the round pupil. The cornea is composed of five layers. The outermost layer is called the epithelium.
Injuries to the epithelium, such as scratches, cuts, or scrapes, are known as corneal abrasions. Usually, these injuries are caused by fingernail scratches, makeup brushes, plants, or rubbing of the eyes. Symptoms associated with corneal abrasions include pain, foreign body sensation, tearing, redness and blurred vision.
Treatment options for corneal abrasions are to prevent infection and to decrease discomfort. Antibiotic drops or ointment are prescribed to prevent infection. To increase comfort the doctor may recommend patching the eye, oral pain medication, anti-inflammatory drops or a bandage contact lens.
Minor abrasions usually heal within a day or two, while larger abrasions take about a week. Corneal abrasions can recur spontaneously, even months later, and need to be re-treated.