A corneal abrasion is a scratch of the outermost layer of the eye. The "skin" of the eye is 0.05 millimeters (50 microns) thick and though quite tough, it can be scratched with relatively minor trauma. The abundance of sensory nerves in this region can lead to significant pain with the occurrence of a corneal abrasion.
Corneal abrasions are treated with eye drops, ointments, a patch, or even a specialized contact lens. Your ophthalmologist will observe closely during the healing phase of a corneal abrasion to assess for the possibility of infection. Corneal abrasions generally heal quite fast and often are resolved in one to three days.
Rarely, a condition called corneal erosion occurs after a corneal abrasion. This condition is generally more common in adults, and involves the spontaneous occurrence of an abrasion without any preceding trauma. Corneal erosions occur because there is a faulty connection between the outermost layer of the cornea and its underlying tissue. Erosions most commonly occur in the middle of the night or upon awakening, and can be successfully treated.