of the most common injuries of the eye is an abrasion. In this condition,
the surface layer of the eye (epithelium) is removed by such dangerous
intruders as baby's fingernails, tree limbs, bushes, and the like.
Abrasions are very painful. They also cause excessive tearing,redness
and blurred vision.These usually heal in a short period of time.
Treatment consists of a patch to keep the lids from moving
or an ointment or even a contact lens to protect the healing tissues.
Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (eg. Advil)are used as needed for comfort.
A good night's sleep is curative in most cases. Often an antibiotic
is instilled because an abrasion is an invitation for infection. Abrasions
covering small areas heal rapidly;those covering more than a third of
the cornea may take a day or two to completely cover over again.It is
important to NOT rub the eyes during the healing phase. The new cells
have poor connections to the underlying tissue and can easily be rubbed
off. When this occurs the pain returns and retreatment is necessary.
In the office a local anesthetic is instilled into the
eye to allow enough comfort for a reasonable examination of the injury.
Repeated use of the anesthetic may cause harm to the eye and is therefore
only used as an aid in making a diagnosis and NOT in the treatment of
Occasionally, long after an abrasion has healed it recurs
spontaneously.This often happens upon awakening in the morning. This
is called are current erosion and represents an area of epithelium which
is not well"glued" down to the deeper parts of the cornea.
The treatment is similar to that of an abrasion. Sometimes we prick
the bare surface of the cornea with a needle in order to help form better
connections between these two surfaces. Bedtime ointments and other
forms of lubrication are also helpful in treating this troublesome complication.