If you have scratched your cornea, it may or may not resolve without treatment. Because a scratched cornea, also known as a corneal abrasion, can cause eye problems if not treated, you should consider visiting an urgent care center for evaluation and treatment. Here are some treatment interventions you can expect from the medical staff at an urgent care center if you have a scratched cornea.

Flushing And Eye Examination

The healthcare provider at the urgent care clinic will flush your eye out with a special eyewash to help remove any particles inside it that may have been responsible for your corneal abrasion. Flushing the eye with copious amounts of sterile water or the special eyewash solution will also help lower your risk of infection by rinsing away bacteria. After your eye has been effectively flushed, the physician, nurse, or physician's assistant will perform an eye examination to assess the scratched corneal and to check your vision.

Prior to the eye exam, the healthcare provider may put an anesthetic drop in the affected eye to relieve your discomfort and reduce eye sensitivity from the light of the ophthalmoscope and slit lamp. After the anesthetic drop has been instilled into your eye, the doctor may also place a small amount of orange dye into your eye so that the abrasion shows up better and brighter during the eye examination.

Antimicrobial Treatment And Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Because an untreated corneal abrasion can cause a severe eye infection and perhaps vision loss, the healthcare provider at the urgent care center will give you a prescription for antibiotics. The antibiotics may be prescribed as a drop or ointment. They are both effective in preventing and treating ocular infections, however, ointments may be more soothing as they can help keep the eye lubricated.

It is important that you finish your entire antibiotic prescription, however, if you experience side effects from your antibiotics such as eye irritation, redness, or itching, let your primary care physician know. If one type of antibiotic causes adverse reactions, your doctor can prescribe a different type of antibiotic that may be less likely to produce unwanted side effects. The doctor may also prescribe a topical anti-inflammatory eyedrop or ointment to help reduce eye swelling, relieve pain, and promote healing. 

If you scratch your cornea, seek medical care at an urgent care clinic. When corneal abrasions are treated quickly, they may be less likely to cause permanent tissue damage, vision problems, and eye infections. For more information, contact an urgent care near you.