Top Tips to Treat and Prevent Corneal Burns and Abrasions

By: Raymond Lee

The two most common causes of burns to the cornea, which sits over your iris and pupil like the crystal on a watch, are sun exposure and contact with common household chemicals. The strangest cause of corneal burns? Curling irons. You read right. This unlikely injury can happen when a woman is curling her bangs, but the curling iron slips, burning her eye. A corneal burn can cause searing pain. It has been described as the feeling of sand in your eyes. And then there is what doctors call a corneal abrasion, a scratch on the surface of your cornea caused by an errant speck of mascara or by falling asleep without removing your contact lenses. A corneal abrasion will make your eye red, painful, and teary. It may even affect your vision. Fortunately, the cornea is remarkable resilient. The outer layer of cells on the cornea are among the fastest healing tissues in her body. But makes no mistake, you can't neglect an eye injury, no matter how minor it seems.

The simplest way to prevent corneal burn is to wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors. The shades you choose should block 100 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays and should be large enough to keep the UV rays from getting under, over, or around the frames. But if you should burn or abrade your cornea, do not rely on self-help remedies to kill the pain. Be sure to get to an eye doctor as quickly as possible.

If you burn or scrape your cornea, wear a cotton patch over your eye until you can get to a doctor. Or you can simply roll up a piece of gauze and tape it over your eye. Wearing a patch will help keep your eyelid from rubbing against your cornea. Keeping your eye closed won't eliminate the pain completely, but it will diminish it significantly.

If you are splashed in the eye with a chemical, you should immediately flood the eye with cool water for at least 15 minutes. Hold your head under a faucet or shower or gently flush out your eye with water from a clean container, while rolling your eyeball around as much as you can. Use your fingers to keep your eye wide open.

As your eye heals, keep it well lubricated with artificial tears at night. You can aggravate an abrasion when you open your eyes in the morning. Do not forget to use artificial tears during the day as well.

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