Corneal Trauma / Injury

Man wearing safety glasses on job site

Corneal injury describes an injury to the cornea. The cornea is the crystal clear (transparent) tissue covering the front of the eye. It works with the lens of the eye to focus images on the retina.

Injuries to the cornea are common. Injuries to the outer surface of the cornea, called corneal abrasions, may be caused by:

You are more likely to develop a corneal injury if you:


DO NOT try to remove an object that is stuck in your eye without professional medical help.

If chemicals are splashed in the eye, IMMEDIATELY flush the eye with water for 15 minutes. The person should be quickly taken to the nearest emergency room.

Anyone with severe eye pain needs to be evaluated in an emergency care center or by an eye specialist immediately.
Treatment for corneal injuries may involve:

Outlook (Prognosis)

Injuries that affect only the surface of the cornea normally heal very quickly with treatment. The eye should be back to normal within 2 days.

Injuries that penetrate (go through) the cornea are much more serious. The outcome depends on the specific injury and if it is treated timely.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if the injury has not significantly improved in 2 days with treatment.