Your eyes have very effective mechanisms to protect themselves from flying debris, protruding hazards, and the occasional clumsy finger. Yet despite these defenses, eye scratches and corneal abrasions can happen. Most are superficial. More serious eye injuries can happen, however, and these require prompt medical attention. Without it, you can find yourself with vision loss or even blindness.
How to Know if You Have Scratched Your Eye
Your eyes have a great number of nerves in them. This means you’re likely to know right away that you’ve sustained an injury. Depending on what part of your eye has received the wound, symptoms can include:
- Pain. It may range from slight discomfort to an intense stabbing-like sensation.
- The feeling of something in your eye.
- Swelling or sensitivity of the eyelid.
- Blurred vision.
- Excessive tearing and watering.
- Light sensitivity.
Treatment for Eye Scratches
Most eye scratches and corneal abrasions will heal on their own after a few days. That said, it’s always a good idea to see your vision care professional if you suspect you have injured your eye. They can examine the wound, ensure you haven’t sustained serious damage, and advise on the best course of treatment.
Knowing what you should do in the event of a scratched eye is important. You should:
- Rinse your eye with clean water or a saline solution. If you haven’t got a specialized eye cup, you can use a clean, small glass rested over your eye.
- Blink. Not only may the action dislodge anything in your eye, it will produce tears that can help lubricate your eye.
- Pull your upper eyelid over your lower eyelid. This utilizes your lower eyelashes to brush away any foreign objects that may have caused the scratch.
- Avoid rubbing your eye. You can cause further injuries or worsen the one you have.
- Skip wearing contact lenses. Contacts can complicate the injury and slow the healing process.
- Avoid touching your eye. Do not touch your eye with fingers, cotton swabs, or makeup brushes.
- Never use eyedrops made to relieve redness. These will not help, and can cause instant, painful regret.