Corneal Scratches, Knicks, Cuts And "Bruises": How Eye Exams Can Help Determine The Severity Of The Problem
Damage to your corneas is no laughing matter. It is not only uncomfortable but also potentially ruinous to your eyes' ability to see well. Since the damage you feel may feel quite extreme but not be half as bad as you think, it is important to see an optometrist for an eye exam. Eye exams can spot damage to your corneas and help determine the severity of the problem you are experiencing. Your optometrist can then prescribe treatments that can help alleviate your discomfort and help heal some of the following damages.
Corneal scratches are quite common. They can occur even when you accidentally poke yourself in the eye with the edge of a finger nail or a mascara wand. Even though it feels like there is something itchy or burning in your eye, surface scratches will heal on their own. If your optometrist determines that you have a slight corneal scratch, he or she may suggest a sterile saline eye drop just to alleviate the itchy or burning sensation long enough for your eye to heal.
You can tell when a corneal scratch is actually a knick. The uncomfortable sensations you have with a corneal scratch are much worse with a corneal knick. Upon examination, your optometrist will want to monitor the knick too, because it is actually a tiny piece of missing corneal tissue. It can heal on its own, but there is a greater chance of infection and your optometrist will probably prescribe an antibiotic, especially if you did not have any eye exam for the problem shortly after the injury occurred.
Corneal cuts will absolutely drive you to an optometrist right away. Cuts into the cornea and deeper into the vitreous humor (the liquid interior) of the eye will not only cause major infections, but if the vitreous humor leaks out you could be looking at either a synthetic replacement of the humor or a total loss of the eye. Only violent assaults and really bad car accidents can cause this type of injury. Thankfully, you will probably already be in a hospital to have other injuries treated when your cut corneas are also treated.
The very definition of bruising refers to damaged blood vessels, often caused by blunt trauma. Eyes are very delicate things and everything from catching a football with your face to a fist fight can cause damage to your eyes and their blood vessels. Corneal bruising, then, is a blunt force trauma event that causes several of the tiny blood vessels in the eye to burst and leave a little blood-red or dark spot on the cornea. It is still a good idea to have your affected eye(s) checked out. In the absence of a recent trauma to the eye, the corneal bruising could be indicative of something more sinister, and eye exams administered by an optometrist can rule out the causes.