What is it?

A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the cornea. The cornea is the clear tissue that covers the colored part of your eye.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Superficial corneal injury
- Scrape of cornea

Signs & symptoms

The cornea contains many nerve endings, so even a minor scratch may feel very uncomfortable and painful. It may feel like there’s something large and rough in the eye, even if you can’t see it. If you have sudden eye pain with tears and rapid blinking, as well as some eye redness, you may have a scratched cornea. You should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.


The doctor should offer an eye exam. As part of the exam, the doctor will put a small drop of a special yellow dye in your eye. The dye will help the doctor see whether the cornea has been scratched. They will also flip up your upper eyelid to check if anything is stuck there.


If you scratch your eye, or get something in your eye, rinse it with clean water or saline solution immediately. Blinking several times may help remove sand, grit, or other foreign matter from your eye, you should not rub your eye, touch your eyeball, or put any other solutions or substances on your eye.
If your healthcare provider diagnoses you with a corneal abrasion, they’ll check for signs of infection. They’ll also decide if you need a topical antibiotic in the form of eye drops. You may receive a prescription for eye drops to relieve pain and sensitivity to light if your abrasion is severe. In most cases, your cornea will heal quickly, usually within several days.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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