What are the causes of a corneal abrasion?
Corneal abrasions are caused by foreign objects entering the eye. Common accidents include:
- Metal, wood or debris being flung from work machinery that is not fitted with the proper safety guards
- Being struck by an airbag or other loose objects during a road traffic accident
- Poorly fitted contacts, a result of optician negligence
- Sports injuries, such as being hit in the face with a football, squash ball or shuttlecock
- Chemical burns, which may be due to exposure to hazardous substances at work or splashes from household cleaning products.
What are the symptoms of corneal abrasion?
The most obvious symptom of a corneal abrasion is the feeling of having grit in the eye. As the eye becomes increasingly irritated, the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Pain and irritation when opening and closing the eye
- Red and watering eyes
- Blood visible in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred or double vision.
In some cases, it may be possible to see the object stuck or embedded in the eye.
What is the treatment for corneal abrasion?
The majority of corneal abrasions will clear up on their own, usually within 48 hours. A course of antibiotic eye drops is commonly prescribed to prevent an infection from developing.
More serious injuries to the eye require immediate medical attention. If an object is lodged on the cornea, it must be flushed away before it causes deeper abrasions and permanent scarring of the eyeball.
Without the proper medical care, the patient is at risk of developing a painful eye condition known as recurrent corneal erosion. Recurrent erosions occur when the first injury heals imperfectly and the scratch returns for no apparent reason causing ongoing pain and vision problems.
Can a claim be made for corneal abrasion?
As with all personal injury claims, it must be proven that someone was negligently responsible for the accident that caused the corneal abrasion injury. An experienced injury lawyer will assist in gathering evidence to determine who is legally responsible for the injury. Suitable evidence may include medical reports, witness statements or CCTV footage of the incident.
Where the accident occurs at work, the claim will be brought against the employer and their insurance company. Employers have a legal duty to safeguard against eye injuries in the workplace and must comply with health and safety legislation regarding the use of personal protective equipment such as eye goggles and the safe operation of machines.
An employer who fails to follow health and safety protocols almost always will be found to be negligent and liable to pay compensation for their workers' injuries.