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Corneal Abrasion vs. Corneal Laceration: What’s the Difference?

Among the most common eye conditions treated by eye doctors are preventable injuries. Most eye injuries occur because the person wasn’t adequately protecting their eyes. Corneal abrasions and corneal lacerations are two types of eye injuries that can impact your vision. Keep reading to learn the difference between the two and to find out how you can better protect your eyes from injuries.

What Is a Corneal Abrasion?

Corneal abrasion is simply the medical term for a scratch on the surface of the eye, known as the cornea. It is the most common of all eye injuries. This type of injury can happen randomly, without you knowing what caused it — symptoms may not always occur right away. The abrasion can be small or large.

Common scenarios that lead to a corneal abrasion include: rubbing the eyes too hard, getting a foreign body trapped under the eyelid, poking the eye when applying makeup, and wearing contacts that are dirty or old.

Symptoms of corneal abrasion may involve:

  • Experiencing pain when opening or closing the eye
  • Having a gritty feeling under the eyelid
  • Having your eyes turn red or produce tears
  • Experiencing blurred vision

Corneal Abrasion Treatment

Minor cases of corneal abrasion may heal on their own within a few days. However, if symptoms persist (or if you have a foreign body stuck in your eyelid), you should see your Kansas City ophthalmologist as soon as possible. At the eye care clinic, your doctor may tape the eye shut to prevent further injury and prescribe medicated eye drops to prevent infection or reduce pain.

Minor scratches typically result in full recovery. However, deeper scratches may lead to infections, scarring or changes in your vision.

What Is a Corneal Laceration?

A corneal laceration is a much deeper and more serious eye injury than an abrasion. This type of injury involves either a partial or full cut on the cornea. A deep laceration may even cut completely through the cornea into the eyeball itself.

Lacerations happen when something sharp flies into the eye or when something strikes the eye with extreme force.

Protective Glasses

If you have a corneal laceration, you should seek emergency help or see your Kansas City ophthalmologist immediately in order to minimize permanent vision loss.

Symptoms of corneal laceration may involve:

  • Experiencing intense pain
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Tearing up
  • Feeling like there is something in your eye
  • Experiencing sensitivity to light
  • Having blurred or distorted vision

Corneal Laceration Treatment

A corneal laceration requires surgical intervention to seal the cut and minimize the risk of infection. Multiple lacerations may involve a series of surgeries and increase one’s likelihood of suffering from vision loss.

After surgery, you may need to wear a patch to protect your eye. Your doctor will probably prescribe medications to prevent infection and relieve eye pain.

Corneal lacerations increase your chances of having other eye problems, like a retinal detachment or glaucoma. You should work closely with your eye doctor in follow-up care to prevent further problems.

Eye Injury Prevention

The best way to prevent eye injuries like corneal abrasions or lacerations is to protect your eyes when playing sports, operating heavy machinery or during sun exposure. You should also regularly visit your eye doctor for exams so they can ensure that your vision is healthy. Your eye care clinic will also educate you about the proper handling of contact lenses and/or protective eyewear to reduce eye injuries. Remember: failing to see a doctor after a serious injury could result in permanent changes to your vision.

Contact us today to learn more about how to protect your eyes from injuries.

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