Testing & Diagnosis for Corneal Abrasions in Children

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How is a corneal abrasion diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually made based on a complete medical history and physical examination of your child's eye.

The physical examination may include the following steps:

  • Local anesthetic drops may be placed in your child’s eye.
  • In addition, your child's physician may order a fluorescein stain to help confirm the diagnosis. This is done by placing a small amount of a dye in the child's eye. The stain does not hurt the child.
  • A special light is then used to look at the surface of the cornea and reveal any abrasions or scratches.

Most corneal abrasions heal quickly and do not cause any permanent damage to the eye. Treatment may take the following forms:

  • If a foreign body is seen in the eye, it may be removed with a small cotton applicator, or by washing the eye out with a saline solution.
  • An antibiotic ointment may be placed in the eye.
  • A patch over the eye may be used to help decrease your child's level of discomfort. A patch is usually required for 12 to 24 hours following a corneal abrasion.
  • Close follow-up with your child's physician will be necessary to assure that the abrasion heals completely.
  • Severe abrasions or cuts into the cornea may be managed by an eye specialist because of the increased risk of damage to the eye.
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