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Corneal Abrasions: “I’ve Got My Eye On You”

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I was away on a weekend trip when I woke up one morning to find that I had blurred vision and an irritated eye. It felt like something was stuck in it and I convinced myself that it was my contact lens that had gone missing just days before.

The more that I tried to remove the contact, the more irritated my eye became. But even before I started rubbing and flushing out my eye, the pain was growing worse. When I could no longer stand it, I turned to a professional for help.

Once at the eyeglass store in the mall, I was told that I did not have anything foreign in my eye. I had a corneal abrasion.

As I sat in the chair and my eye continued to water down the side of my face, I was confused and disappointed. I had hoped that someone at the office could put a stop to the unbearable eye pain that I was experiencing. However, I was not in luck.

This description comes from emedicinehealth.com, “A corneal abrasion is a painful scrape or scratch of the surface of the clear part of the eye. This clear tissue of the eye is known as the cornea, the transparent window covering the iris, the circular colored portion of the eye. The cornea has many nerve endings just under the surface, so that any disruption of the surface may be painful.”

You can say that again. Painful is not a strong enough word to describe what I was feeling. Each time that I blinked it felt like a razor blade scraping over my eye. My eye was also extremely light-sensitive and the outdoor sunlight or bright indoor lights seemed to burn straight through my eyelid.

The left side of my face was puffed up and my eye was nearly swollen shut. But even during the times that I attempted to cover my eye to avoid blinking, eye pain would hit me like a wave. I cried with my hands clasped tightly over my eye as I prayed that the pain would stop.

The eyeglass place wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic drop than I was instructed to use frequently. They however, could only advise me to use over-the-counter pain relief. It was only after a full night’s sleep (with only waking once to take more Advil), did my eye begin to feel slightly better. I continued the antibiotic drops until I was able to fly home and see a cornea specialist.

I believe it was likely that my problem stemmed from my contact lens wear and dry eyes. Within days, my eye was back to normal but I have not taken for granted what it is to have healthy eyes. Once you experience that type of pain, it is not likely that you will forget it. I have yet to be able to put a contact lens back into my eye.

Symptoms of a Corneal Abrasion:

1. Blurred vision
2. Eye pain when exposed to bright light
3. The feeling that something foreign is stuck in your eye
4. Tearing of the eye
5. Squinting (due to spasms of your eye muscles)

If you have had an eye injury these symptoms may not appear immediately following your injury.

If you suspect you have a corneal abrasion, see an eye care specialist. Keeping your eye closed is the best way to assist the healing process.


Corneal Abrasion Symptoms. Emedicinehealth.com. Web. Sept 16, 2011.

Reviewed September 19, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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