Scratched Eye Emergency: Why Seeking Professional Treatment from an Eye Doctor is Essential

If you scratched your eye it is important to schedule an emergency eye exam with our eye doctors to prevent complications.

Scratched Eye Emergency: Why Seeking Professional Treatment from an Eye Doctor is Essential in Olympia

Scratched eyes can be a painful and uncomfortable condition that can have a significant impact on your daily life. A scratched eye can be a cause of anxiety as the patient is unsure if they need to seek emergency eye care or visit the ER or urgent care, or if they can wait it out.  Although most cases of scratched eyes will heal without causing long term damage, whether you have a minor scratch or a more serious injury, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further damage and promote healing. Because an optometrist has advanced training and technology for dealing with eye emergencies such as corneal abrasions (scratched eyes), if possible it is recommended to visit an optometrist over an ER or urgent care facility. 

On this page, you will find information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for scratched eyes, as well as tips for preventing scratches in the first place. We hope that this information is helpful to you and that you will contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your eye health.

American Family Vision Clinic

Is a corneal abrasion common?

According to the  American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 2.5 million eye injuries occur each year in the United States. It's important to take proper precautions to protect your eyes and seek medical treatment if an injury does occur.

A corneal abrasion (scratched cornea or scratched eye) is one of the most common eye injuries.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Medical Attention from an Optometrist for Scratched Eyes: Why Self-Treatment is not a replacement for an Emergency Eye Exam

When it comes to eye injuries, it's important to seek professional medical treatment as soon as possible. While it may be tempting to try to treat a scratched eye at home, it's generally not a good idea and can actually cause more harm than good. Here are a few reasons why you should not try to treat a scratched eye at home and why it's important to visit an eye doctor near you as soon as possible.

A corneal abrasion, also known as a scratched eye, is an injury that occurs when the top layer of the cornea, called the corneal epithelium, is disrupted or scraped off. This can cause significant discomfort, redness of the eye, and sensitivity to light (photophobia). In most cases, the injury results in the loss of cells in the corneal epithelium.

Most corneal abrasions, also known as scratched eyes, tend to heal on their own within a few days. However, deeper or larger abrasions may take longer to heal and may result in a permanent scar that could potentially affect vision. Early treatment is crucial for a full recovery, as untreated abrasions can lead to severe vision loss. 

At American Family Vision Clinic, we understand that a scratched eye can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. Our main goal is to provide you with the best care to promote healing and prevent further damage. Our primary treatment for corneal abrasions includes the use of topical antibiotics, and in some cases, cycloplegics to help the eye heal. You can expect to have follow-up visits with us until your eye is fully healed. For pain management, small abrasions usually do not require additional pain medication. However, if you experience mild to moderate pain, we may recommend analgesics, oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or ophthalmic topical NSAID solutions to help with pain relief. In rare cases, if your abrasion is not responding to these treatments, we may consider prescribing oral opioid medication. We will work closely with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate care and attention. In certain cases, a bandage contact lens may be used as a treatment option for scratched corneas.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Medical Attention from an Optometrist for Scratched Eyes: Why Self-Treatment is not a replacement for an Emergency Eye Exam
The Importance of Seeking Professional Medical Attention from an Optometrist for Scratched Eyes: Why Self-Treatment is not a replacement for an Emergency Eye Exam

The Importance of Seeking Professional Medical Attention from an Optometrist for Scratched Eyes: Why Self-Treatment is not a replacement for an Emergency Eye Exam

It's important to determine the severity of the scratch and the underlying cause. A scratched eye can be caused by various factors, such as debris, a fingernail, or even a contact lens. An eye doctor will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of the scratch and recommend the best course of treatment.

There are a variety of causes of scratched eye including: 

  • Foreign body 
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma
  • Uveitis
  • Infective keratitis (bacterial, fungal, herpetic)
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Recurrent erosion syndrome
The Importance of Seeking Professional Medical Attention from an Optometrist for Scratched Eyes: Why Self-Treatment is not a replacement for an Emergency Eye Exam

What are common causes of a scratched eye?

A scratched eye, also known as a corneal abrasion, can be caused by various factors, including:

Debris: Small particles, such as dust or sand, can get into the eye and scratch the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye.

Fingernails: Scratching the eye with a fingernail can cause a scratch on the cornea.

Contact lenses: Wearing contact lenses that are dirty or have not been properly cared for can increase the risk of a scratched eye.

Chemical exposure: Coming into contact with certain chemicals, such as cleaning solutions or chlorine, can cause a scratched eye.

Trauma: A blow to the eye or other types of trauma, such as a sports injury, can cause a scratched eye.

It's important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you think you have a scratched eye. Our eye doctor will be able to determine the cause of the scratch and recommend the best course of treatment. To schedule an appointment, please call (360) 491-2121.

Risk of infection

A scratched eye can increase the risk of infection, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Our eye doctor will be able to properly clean and treat the scratch to reduce the risk of infection.

Delay in treatment can lead to long-term damage

If left untreated, a scratched eye can lead to long-term damage, including vision loss. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can help prevent permanent damage.

Home remedies may not be effective

There are many home remedies that people may try to use to treat a scratched eye, such as rinsing the eye with water or using over-the-counter eye drops. However, these remedies may not be effective and could actually cause further irritation.

Our eye doctor has the necessary training, technology, and experience to treat corneal abrasions in Olympia

Our eye doctors are trained professionals who have the necessary knowledge and expertise to properly diagnose and treat eye injuries. It's important to trust their judgment and follow their recommendations for treatment. In more severe cases of scratched eyes, our optometrists may use a bandage lens to protect the eye, provide pain relief, and facilitate healing. These bandage lenses are special silicone contact lenses that are designed specifically for this purpose. While these lenses have been shown to be effective in improving the condition of scratched eyes, there are also new bandage lenses available that are made of amniotic membrane rather than silicone. As technology continues to advance, new options for treating scratched eyes may become available.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Medical Attention from an Optometrist for Scratched Eyes: Why Self-Treatment is not a replacement for an Emergency Eye Exam

Common Questions

It's not a good idea to wear contact lenses if you have a scratched eye. Wearing contact lenses can increase the risk of infection and further irritate the eye. It's important to follow the recommendations of our eye doctor and avoid wearing contact lenses until the eye has fully healed. In the event that you have scratched your eyes, call us to schedule an evaluation today at (360) 491-2121. We are proud to be a leading provider of eye emergency services and advanced eye care conveniently located in Olympia.
Scratched Eye Emergency: Why Seeking Professional Treatment from an Eye Doctor is Essential
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Visit our eye doctor for eye emergencies in Olympia

If you or someone you know has a scratched eye, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Visit our eye doctor near you for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you're in need of an eye doctor in the Olympia area, consider visiting Dr. Zurcher at American Family Vision Clinic. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality eye care and will work with you to ensure that your eye injury is properly treated. To schedule an appointment, please call (360) 491-2121. Patients with eye emergencies such as a scratched eye visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of emergency eye care and medical eye care for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.

 

Testimonials


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.


Amy Fagerness
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