Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about CORNEAL ABRASIONS.
A scratch injury to the clear part of the eye or cornea is common in both kids and adults. It usually occurs when some sand or dust enters the eye. In the last issue, Dr. Gill talked about the causes and symptoms of corneal abrasions. In this issue, he speaks more about treatment and prevention methods.
Some immediate steps that you can take are as follows:
FLUSH OUT THE EYE: Place clean water or saline into a little round cup and place it over your eye to wash out the foreign body. Most of the time, this will solve the problem.
GET YOUR CHILD TO BLINK HIS EYE: If the child is tearing profusely, this is good as the tears itself will often wash off the offending agent.
IF YOU NOTICE SOMETHING STUCK TO THE CORNEA: Do not attempt to remove this by yourself as this may lead to further damage to the cornea by way of an infection or at worse, a corneal ulcer. Seek professional help in this case so that the foreign body can be removed without damage to the eye or introducing unnecessary infection.
If you have a simple antibiotic eye drop (without steroid) at home, you can instil them in the eye. Then pad the eye to keep it from blinking, as blinking may cause more pain especially to a child. This will help make it more comfortable for the patient while waiting to be seen by the doctor.
After removal of the foreign particle, there may be a gritty or scratchy feeling in the affected eye for a day or two depending on whether the abrasion is large or small. You will often be given antibiotic eye drops along with some analgesics if you are unable to tolerate the pain. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe a sedative for a restful night’s sleep especially if the discomfort is very troubling.
If you are a contact lens wearer, do not wear your contact lenses until the corneal abrasion has healed well. Your eye doctor will advise you when you will be able to resume wearing them.
Do wear eye safety goggles whenever you work with tools or drills, participate in high speed sports activities such as squash, badminton or hockey, handle any chemicals, or when working in a garden surrounded by thorny bushes and shrubs.
Prevention is better than cure. It is best to avoid getting injured instead of trying to get well after an injury.
Corneal abrasions only cause trouble if they get secondarily infected and end up as corneal ulcerations which can lead to blindness if not treated early. Should you suffer from any symptoms that are prolonged, do seek professional eye treatment.
For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.