Corneal Abrasion In Children – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Written by Deepa Balasubramanian • 

Is your child diagnosed with corneal abrasion? Don’t panic, as it is a common complaint among children.

Children, who are often exposed to external factors such as sunlight, dust, wind, wood, sand etc., suffer from corneal abrasion. Environmental irritants hit the cornea of the eye, scratching and damaging the surface, thereby causing injury.

Here is an article on everything you need to know about corneal abrasion occurring in kids.

What Is Corneal Abrasion In Children:

A corneal abrasion affects the cornea of the eye, which is the shiny, clear layer that covers the surface of the eye. It protects the iris and pupil of the eye ball. When an external agent comes in contact with the cornea and scratches it, an abrasion occurs, causing redness and pain in the affected eye.

The good news is that this injury has no long lasting effects on the eye. It is important to show any corneal injury to the doctor at the earliest. If neglected, this can lead to serious conditions like corneal ulcer.

[ Read: Periorbital Cellulitis In Children ]

Causes Of Corneal Abrasion:

Here are the main causes of a corneal abrasion:

  1. Sand
  2. Wood Shavings
  3. Iron particles
  4. Sparks
  5. Pieces of paper
  6. Insects
  7. Fingernails
  8. Contact lenses
  9. Chemical irritants
  10. Bad eye makeup
  11. Hay

Signs And Symptoms Of Corneal Abrasions:

Your child will immediately complain of the following symptoms upon corneal abrasion:

  1. Pain in the eye
  2. Redness
  3. Swollen eyes
  4. Bloodshot or red eye
  5. Watery eye
  6. Complaining of something in the eye
  7. Unable to see day light

Diagnosis Of Corneal Abrasion:

Any small eye complaint has to be reported to doctors. Corneal abrasion needs a thorough evaluation where your child’s ophthalmologist will look for the confirmation of abrasion on the corneal area. The following tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis:

  1. General eye check up.
  2. Questions about what happened before the abrasion.
  3. Dropping of fluid called fluorescein on the eye surface. The fluid causes the abrasion to glow in bright green colors, which your doctor will spot under a filtered light.
  4. Slit lamp examination to check the general health of the eye.

[ Read: Eye Care Tips For Children ]

Treatment Of Corneal Abrasion:

The doctor may recommend any of the below treatments to cure the corneal abrasion:

  1. Eye drops
  2. Ointment
  3. Medications if the pain is unbearable
  4. Instruction to stop wearing contact lenses if your child uses them

Measures To Follow At Home:

Some simple measures at home can help heal corneal abrasions faster. Below are some of them:

  • Rinse your child’s eye with clear water or saline solution. Rinsing helps get rid of the irritant that caused an abrasion.
  • Blinking eyes several times or pulling the upper eyelid over the lower one triggers the eye to produce more tears that will wash away the irritant.
  • Do NOT try and remove the irritant with bare hands without doctor’s supervision. This can worsen the state.
  • Instruct your child not to rub the eyes frequently, as this can irritate the cornea even more.

[ Read: Vitamin A For Kids ]

When To Call The Doctor?

If the corneal abrasion does not heal after few days despite doctor’s examination and prescription, it is time to revisit the doctor once again to understand the underlying problems.

Protecting Your Child’s Eyes:

To prevent corneal abrasion from attacking your child’s eyes, your child can resort to some preventive measures:

  • Wearing sunglasses before stepping out in sun to protect from harmful UV rays or while playing on the beach.
  • Wearing goggles or face mask while working with tools involving external irritants.
  • Wearing appropriate eye gear while playing outdoor sport such as hockey, snowboarding, racquetball, etc.
  • Wearing branded contact lens with correct fitment to avoid abrasion.

Prevention is always better than cure. Talking to your child about protecting the eyes while playing outside or playing with pets will help them understand how to protect their eyes.

Do share your views and tips with other parents regarding the topic in the comment section below:

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