Anyone with severe eye pain needs to be evaluated in an emergency care center or by an ophthalmologist immediately.
Treatment for corneal injuries may involve:
Removing any foreign material from the eye
Wearing an eye patch or temporary bandage contact lens
Using eye drops or ointments prescribed by the doctor
Not wearing contact lenses until the eye has healed
Taking pain medicines
An abrasion or foreign object that is large enough to damage the cornea may not be visible without proper magnification or special eye drops that stain the cornea. Abrasions will often feel like foreign bodies in the eye.
Injuries that affect only the surface of the cornea normally heal very rapidly with treatment. The eye should be back to normal within 2 days.
Penetrating corneal injuries are much more serious. The outcome depends on the specific injury.
Severe corneal injury may require extensive surgery or a cornea transplant.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if the injury has not significantly improved in 2 days with treatment.
Wear safety goggles at all times when using hand or power tools or chemicals, during high impact sports, or in other situations where there is a potential for eye injury.
Wear sunglasses designed to screen ultraviolet light when you are exposed to sunlight, even during the winter.
Be careful when using household cleaners. Many household products contain strong acids, alkalis, or other chemicals. Drain and oven cleaners are particularly dangerous. They can lead to blindness if not used correctly.
Vinger PF. the eye and sports medicine. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 15th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkions;2009:chap 45.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Opthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.