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Non-Surgical Treatments for Corneal Abrasions

Post written by BFH Staff Writer on June 30, 2024
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Corneal abrasions, commonly known as a scratched eye, can be incredibly painful and disruptive. It occurs when the outer layer of the cornea, the transparent part of the eye, is damaged. Symptoms of corneal abrasion can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, often making the eye feel like something is in it. Thankfully, several non-surgical treatments can provide relief and promote healing for a scratched cornea.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Scratched Eye

Before diving into treatments, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of a corneal abrasion. Common signs include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • A persistent sensation that something is in the eye. 

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek prompt medical attention to prevent complications such as infection.

Immediate Steps to Take

When you first notice symptoms of a scratched eye, there are immediate steps you can take to alleviate discomfort and protect your eye. First, avoid rubbing your eye, as this can exacerbate the abrasion. Remove your contact lenses promptly if you have any. Rinse your eye together with clean water or saline solution to help flush out any potential foreign particles.

Eye Drops for Scratched Eye

Eye drops are essential for the non-surgical treatment of corneal abrasions. Different kinds of eye drops are formulated to treat different symptoms and aid in the healing process.:

  1. Lubricating Eye Drops: These over-the-counter drops can help soothe the eye and reduce the sensation of something being in it. They work by keeping the eye moist, which aids in the healing process.
  2. Antibiotic Eye Drops: Prescribed by a healthcare provider, these drops prevent infection, which is a common concern with corneal abrasions. Using antibiotic drops as directed can help avoid complications that could lead to more severe eye issues.
  3. Medicated Eye Drops: In some cases, your doctor might prescribe drops that contain pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications to reduce discomfort and swelling.

Additional Non-Surgical Treatments

Beyond eye drops, other non-surgical treatments can facilitate healing and provide relief:

  • Artificial Tears: These can be used frequently to keep the eye lubricated. They are especially useful if your eye feels dry or irritated.
  • Cold Compresses: Applying a cold compress to the affected eye can help reduce inflammation and numb the area, providing temporary pain relief.
  • Resting the Eye: Limit activities that strain your eyes, such as reading or looking at screens. Resting your eyes can significantly speed up the healing process.

Preventing Corneal Abrasions

Prevention is always better than cure. To reduce the risk of a scratched cornea, follow these tips:

  • Wear protective eyewear during activities that could result in eye injuries, such as sports or certain work environments.
  • Handle contact lenses properly and avoid wearing them for extended periods.
  • Be cautious when using makeup or facial products around the eyes to prevent accidental scratching.


For many, a scratched eye can be an unsettling experience, but with the right non-surgical treatments, most corneal abrasions heal quickly and effectively. Utilizing appropriate eye drops for a scratched eye, taking immediate protective measures, and seeking professional help when necessary are all vital steps in managing this condition. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What to do if you scratch your eye?

If you scratch your eye, immediately rinse it with clean water to remove any debris. Avoid rubbing your eye, and remove contact lenses if you wear them. Additionally, use lubricating eye drops to soothe discomfort.

How to heal a scratched eye overnight?

Healing a scratched eye overnight involves keeping the eye well-lubricated with artificial tears or lubricating eye drops and avoiding any activities that strain the eye, such as reading or screen time. Furthermore applying a cold compress can lessen inflammation and provide pain relief.

What is the fastest way to heal a scratched eye?

The quickest way to treat a scratched eye includes using antibiotic eye drops prescribed by a doctor to prevent infection, applying lubricating eye drops to maintain moisture, and resting the eye to avoid further irritation. 

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