People are usually very good at keeping things out of their eyes. Eyelashes help protect the eyes, our reflexes can snap our eyelids closed to block objects and our tears will wash out most dust or dirt that does get by. But accidents can still happen. Housework and sports are common eye injury causes. But even cooking or holding a small child can get you an unexpected eye injury.
If you're having pain, a feeling that something is stuck in your eye, or tearing and redness, then you might have scratched your eye. You might have symptoms right away, or the symptoms may start or get worse hours after the injury.
Some kinds of scratches are called corneal abrasions. A corneal abrasion is a scratch or scrape on the cornea, the clear, round dome covering the eye's iris and pupil. By helping to focus light as it enters the eye, the cornea plays an important role in vision. When a corneal abrasion scars the cornea, it can affect vision. Other corneal abrasion symptoms can include blurry vision, sensitivity to light and headache.
See your ophthalmologist if you scratch your eye. Most corneal abrasions are minor and will heal on their own in a few days. Your ophthalmologist may treat a corneal abrasion with antibiotic eye drops or ointment or use steroid eyedrops to reduce inflammation and reduce the chance of scarring.
The best way to deal with a scratched eye, though, is to avoid getting one in the first place. If you are going to be engaged in an activity where you risk injuring your eye, make sure you use protective eyewear.
If you do scratch your eye, here are some things you should — and should not — do: