Corneal Abrasion

Corneal abrasions are extremely painful. Patients deserve a good analgesic strategy. Topical anesthetics may cause occasional problems in patients who abuse them, but there is no evidence that they are harmful if used for a short period of time - Justin Morgenstern

Corneal Abrasion
Corneal Abrasion

image by: James Heilman, MD

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Minor Care Series: Corneal Abrasions

Many of the treatments that are commonly used for corneal abrasions do not have any scientific validation. Most providers will prescribe 3 to 5 days of topical antibiotics for all of these patients. Appropriate antibiotics include erythromycin ointment, trimethoprim/polymyxin drops or sulfacetamide ointment or drops. None of these are superior to the others and are chosen primarily on provider preference.

One special consideration is in patients who wear contact lenses. These patients are often colonized with pseudomonas or other gram negative organisms. Superinfection can lead to rapid corneal damage and vision loss. These patient should be prescribed a topical antibiotic that covers…

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 Minor Care Series: Corneal Abrasions

The eye is a complicated organ that is not well understood by many new emergency physicians because it historically has not received much attention during medical school. This makes taking care of these patients challenging. However, eye complaints make up approximately 8% of ED visits and so it is something we will see quite often. In this post we will discuss one of the more common etiologies of "eye pain", corneal abrasions.


Pediatric patients: consider corneal abrasion in the inconsolable infant.

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