Corneal Abrasion Pediatric Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
January 18, 2021

What is a Corneal Abrasion?

The cornea is the clear part of the eye that covers the pupil and the colored area surrounding it, which is called the iris. A scratch on the cornea is called a corneal abrasion.

Common causes of a corneal abrasion include:

  • Fingernail scratch
  • Foreign body stuck under the eyelid causing a scratch
  • An animal scratch
  • A stick or tree branch
  • A piece of paper
  • Contact lenses especially if they fit poorly

Symptoms of a corneal abrasion include:

  • A gritty feeling inside the eye
  • Bad eye pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye tearing and watering

Corneal Abrasion Diagnosis and Treatment

A corneal abrasion is diagnosed based on your medical history and physical exam. In addition, your child’s provider can stain your child’s eye with a substance called fluorescein. This allows them to scan the eye for highlighted scratches using a black light.

Corneal abrasions typically heal on their own within 2 to 3 days. In the meantime:

  • Your child’s provider might prescribe a topical antibiotic drop or ointment
  • Remove any foreign body in the eye
  • Avoid bright lights
  • Use a gauze patch to keep the eye closed if this is more comfortable for your child
  • Use Ibuprofen and Tylenol as needed for pain

Check in With K If…

  • You have general questions about your child’s condition
  • You want general followup for your child
  • You have questions about supportive care
  • Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming

See a Doctor in Person If…

  • Your child’s vision doesn’t improve
  • Your child’s pain becomes severe
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.