What are the indications of a corneal abrasion?

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A scratched eye is medically known as a corneal abrasion. Once an object such as contact lens or fingernail scratches the skin or when sand or other particles enter the eye, it can damage the cornea.

Due to the delicate nature of the cornea, it is prone to injury. Depending on the severity of the scratch, the symptoms can be non-existent, minimal, somewhat irritating or severe. Always bear in mind that corneal abrasions typically heal without requiring treatment after two days, but it can take up to a week in some cases. One way to rule out the possibility of a severe eye injury is to consult a doctor if the condition of the eye worsens after two days. Take note that the scratch is not apparent in the eye. If there is an evident injury to the eye or an object is embedded, medical attention is required. If you want to learn more about this injury, read here.


Once the cornea is scratched, the individual will experience a sensation that there is an object inside the eye even if there is nothing actually present. Depending on the severity of the scratch sustained, it can feel like sand in the eye.

The irritation of the eye can be bothersome that will urge the individual to rub his/her eye in an attempt to remove the object. The individual should resist the urge to rub the affected eye.

Corneal abrasion
The indications of a corneal abrasion often include pain and burning sensation due to the injury to the corneal tissue.

In case there is an object present in the eye, rubbing will only worsen the injury. Even if there is no object in the eye, the rubbing action will worsen the irritation, thus the symptoms will last longer. In case you suspect that there is something in the eye, it should be washed out with water. A doctor should be consulted if the object cannot be removed.

Blurred vision

The eyesight can become slightly blurred once the cornea is scratched. Take note that the blurring is usually temporary and resolves once the injury has healed. The affected eye should be allowed to rest by closing it or covering using a patch to promote healing. In case the vision is drastically blurred, a doctor should be consulted to rule out a serious eye injury.

Pain and burning sensation

The indications of a corneal abrasion often include pain and burning sensation due to the injury to the corneal tissue. The eye can turn red in color or start to water in an attempt to clear out any object present. Since the cornea is highly sensitive, the pain and burning sensation can be harsh.

Even though a scratched eye can cause a lot of discomfort, most cases do not lead to permanent eye injury. In case there is extreme redness or excessive tearing, a doctor should be consulted to rule out an infection or deep eye injury.

Light sensitivity

Once the cornea is damaged, it can become sensitive to light. This is noticed when outdoors during a sunny day. The light appears brighter if the cornea is irritated. It is similar to how the eyes react when going outside after watching a movie in a theater. The only difference with a scratched eye is that it could not adjust to the bright light after a few minutes. The individual should wear sunglasses or cover the affected eye with a patch to minimize the discomfort.

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