Severe corneal abrasions or corneal scratches are typically uncommon in children but accidents do happen and it will benefit parents to know what to do should this ever happen.

Minor abrasions are typically more common and heal within a day or two.

Understanding the symptoms, treatments, and when it may be appropriate to seek urgent care and medical treatment is key to ensuring your child’s eyes and vision are well looked after. Read further for more.

Night Lite Pediatrics offers corneal abrasion treatment to children living and visiting in the state of Florida. Parents can schedule an arrival time on our website.

What is a corneal abrasion?

A corneal abrasion is a scratch or scrape on the outer layer of the eye, known as the cornea, which is a protective “window” at the front of the eye. The cornea can be scratched by contact with dust, dirt, sand, wood shavings, plant matter, metal particles, contact lenses or even the edge of a piece of paper.

Scratches, scrapes, and cuts can become infected by bacteria and can lead to corneal ulcers.

What is a corneal abrasion?

Common causes of corneal abrasions in children

Causes of corneal abrasions in children include:

  • Accidental rubbing/scratching of the eyes
  • Trauma from foreign objects or materials
  • Dry eyes from lack of tears
  • Swimming or playing in water that contains bacteria and other contaminants
  • Poor hygiene, such as not cleaning around the eyes
  • Allergic reactions to lotions, pollen, dust, etc.
  • Certain medications, such as those containing steroids

Symptoms of corneal abrasions

There are several symptoms your child might have that may indicate a scratched cornea, which include:

  • Pain
  • Blurry vision
  • A gritty feeling in the eye
  • Tearing
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to the light (photophobia)
  • Headache
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Watery eyes
Symptoms of corneal abrasions

Risks of corneal abrasions

The risks or complications of corneal abrasion may include:

  • Bacterial keratitis – an infection of the cornea caused by a bacteria.
  • Corneal ulcer – an open sore on your cornea.
  • Traumatic iritis – inflammation of the iris—the colored portion of the eye—due to trauma.
  • Recurrent erosion syndrome – In this condition the surface skin of the cornea (the clear window of the eye) breaks down, causing sharp pain, watering and sometimes blurred vision.

Treatment for a scratched cornea

Treatment of a scratched cornea will depend on the severity of the injury. The urgent care doctor will assist with one or more of the following treatments for your child:

  • Antibiotic eye drops (prescription eye drops) or ointment
  • Pain medication to relieve pain
  • Anti-inflammatory medication

Your child’s eye may need to be taped shut to protect the eye during the healing process.

A minor scratch should heal on its own in 1 to 3 days. More severe abrasions may take longer.

Severe injuries may require surgery, and in rare cases a corneal transplant.

What is the cost of a scratched cornea treatment?

The price of treating a scratched cornea varies depending on the origin of the damage, if any additional tests are needed, the extent of the injury, and the treatment plan chosen.

At Night Lite Pediatrics we accept most major medical health insurances as well as self-pay options.

Urgent Care near me for corneal abrasion treatment

Night Lite Pediatrics is comprised of notable physicians in pediatric urgent care and pediatric critical care medicine who are also well-recognized in the Central Florida medical community.

Our clinics are open seven days a week, accommodating walk-ins and suggested arrival times. You can contact us at any of our 13 Florida locations listed below:

How to schedule an arrival time


Below is a list of common questions and answers regarding corneal abrasion.

If your child has a corneal abrasion, they should be taken to the ER or urgent care. Corneal abrasions can be very painful and can cause permanent damage if left untreated.

Corneal abrasions typically heal within 24-48 hours. However, if the abrasion is deep or the eye is otherwise compromised, healing can take up to two weeks.

It is important to seek medical attention for a corneal abrasion as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the abrasion, your child may require an antibiotic eye drop or ointment to prevent infection, or a patch to protect the eye.

An urgent care doctor or an ophthalmologist can provide the necessary treatment.

A corneal abrasion can feel like a foreign body or sand in the eye and cause burning, itching, tearing, and light sensitivity.

Corneal abrasions are very painful because the cornea is the most densely innervated tissue in the body. It is packed with nerve endings that respond to any foreign object, such as dust, dirt, or a contact lens, that comes in contact with it.

The resulting irritation causes intense pain and discomfort.

Contact lenses are generally safe for children and will not cause corneal abrasions. However, it is important to ensure that the lenses are properly fitted, cared for, and replaced as recommended by an eye care specialist to reduce the risk of any eye conditions or injuries.

Recurrent corneal erosion (RCE) is a common disorder causing ocular pain, tearing, photophobia, and visual impairments.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.


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from Night Lite Pediatrics Urgent Care