Alan D. Mendelsohn, MD, FACS
Expert Laser Cataract Surgeon
Eye Surgeons & Consultants
4651 Sheridan Street,
Hollywood, FL 33021
The cornea is a clear dome that covers the eye, consisting of 5 separate layers. The outermost layer is called the epithelium. Underneath the epithelium are more nerve fibers per square inch than any other part of the body. When the epithelium is intact, it serves to both cover these nerve fibers and to protect the eye from microbes entering the eye. However, when the cornea is scratched, the epithelium becomes damaged, resulting in a corneal abrasion. With a corneal abrasion there is a significantly increased risk of infection and an excruciatingly, severe pain as thousands of exposed nerve fibers send pain signals straight up to the brain. Some patients describe the pain of a scratched cornea like someone sticking a knife into their eye. Aside from the horrendous pain, patients often experience blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and profuse tearing of the eye.
Seeking early treatment for a scratched cornea is crucial because, with the eye’s protective barrier damaged, any microbe that enters the eye poses a risk for severe, damaging infections. Unlike a typical eye infection, one that results from a scratched cornea causes a complication called a corneal ulcer. Prompt evaluation and treatment of corneal abrasions, before they ever get infected, is the best way to prevent lifelong eye damage.
Treating corneal abrasions, we utilize a specialized contact-lens-style band-aid that covers the injured area to begin healing, relieve pain, and prevent infection. This contact lens bandage is left on the eye 24/7, and patients are prescribed antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops, expediting the healing process. If the original abrasion is deeper, or more extensive, we recommend an in-office, five minute procedure, placing a BioDOptix cellular matrix over the injured cornea. The BioDOptix membranes are extraordinarily successful in restoring the corneal surface and integrity back to excellent health.