• Can petroleum jelly (Vaseline) be put into an eye that was scratched by being poked with paper?


    Question:

    Can petroleum jelly (Vaseline) be put into an eye that was scratched by being poked with paper?


    Answer:

    If you think you have a corneal abrasion (a scratch or scrape to the clear, round dome covering the front of the eye), you should see an eye specialist to confirm that you don't have a corneal ulcer (an open sore on the cornea). Ulcers can lead to permanent scarring and vision loss. Abrasions are treated with antibiotics to prevent ulcer formation.

    Lubricants are sometimes used to lessen the pain from an abrasion. Often they are the antibiotics themselves such as erythromycin, bacitracin, or ciprofloxacin ophthalmic ointments. However, one should not use petroleum jelly. Even if the ingredient is similar to the main ingredients in artificial tear lubricants (mineral oil), it still should not be used because it is not an antibiotic and it is also not sterile! If you do have a corneal abrasion, you could be adding bacteria by applying the non-sterile petroleum jelly.

    You need to see an ophthalmologist who will evaluate your eye and choose the proper treatment.


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