Corneal Erosions

What are Corneal Erosions?

Corneal erosions are when the outermost layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is either damaged or completely worn away. This can result from a variety of causes, including direct trauma to the eye, contact lens irritation, or dry eye. Corneal erosions can be very painful, and the resulting eye damage can seriously impair vision.

Signs and Symptoms of Corneal Erosions

When a corneal erosion occurs, people may experience:

  • A sudden sharp pain in the eye that may be accompanied by redness.
  • Blurred vision (which may be temporary).
  • Excessive tearing.
  • Sensitivity to light.

Diagnosing Corneal Erosions

Corneal erosion diagnosis typically begins with a physical examination of the eye using a slit-lamp biomicroscope. During the exam, a doctor may use a special dye called fluorescein to identify the area of the corneal damage. A sample of the epithelium may also be taken for further testing.

Treating Corneal Erosions

The primary goal of treatment is to reduce pain and promote healing of the corneal epithelium. Treatment options may include:

  • Prescription medication, usually a topical antibiotic.
  • Bandage contact lenses, which allow a protective layer to form over the damaged cornea.
  • Corticosteroid eye drops, which help reduce inflammation.
  • Surgical cleaning or removal of the remaining epithelium.

Preventing Corneal Erosions

Corneal erosions can be prevented by protecting the eye from environmental hazards and taking care of the eyes with proper hygiene. In addition, regular eye examinations should be performed to identify any early signs of damage. People should also wear protective eyewear such as goggles and safety glasses when participating in activities where the risk of injury to the eyes is high.