• What Is Corneal Erosion?

    Written By: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed By: Elena M Jimenez MD
    Apr. 09, 2019

    Corneal erosion is when the layer of cells on the surface of the cornea, called the epithelium, loosens from the layer underneath. This is painful and makes your vision blurry or hazy.

    Corneal Erosion Symptoms

    Corneal erosion pain may start suddenly, often when you first wake in the morning. Your eyes get dry while you sleep, and your eyelid might stick to the cornea. If the epithelium is not firmly attached, opening your eyelids might peel the epithelium off.

    Why Do Corneal Erosions Hurt So Much?

    The cornea has many nerve cells. Cells called pain receptors transmit pain to tell us about possible damage to the eye’s surface. In fact, there are hundreds of times more pain receptors in our cornea than there are in our skin.

    Who Is At Risk for Corneal Erosion?

    You are more likely to have corneal erosion if you:

    Corneal Erosion Treatment

    Your ophthalmologist will treat your eye based on what they find in the exam. Following are some options.

    • You might wear a patch over your injured eye. This is to keep you from blinking and making the corneal erosion worse.
    • You may use moisturizing eye drops or ointment. This adds a soothing layer over the cornea.
    • Your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent an eye infection.
    • You may be given special eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil. This can help relieve pain.
    • You may be given a special contact lens to reduce pain and speed healing.

    If you get corneal erosion two or more times, your ophthalmologist may recommend other treatment. This could include:

    • surgery or laser treatment to remove corneal tissue
    • surgery called anterior stromal puncture. Your ophthalmologist will make tiny holes on the surface of your cornea. The scar tissue from these holes binds the epithelium to the layer underneath.

    If your eyes are dry and corneal erosion happens often, talk with your ophthalmologist. He or she will discuss ways to keep your eyes moist. This may help prevent corneal erosion.

    Help Your Eyes Heal from Corneal Erosion

    Do not rub your eye while it is healing. Rubbing can slow down healing, or even make the problem worse.

    Avoid wearing your usual contact lenses while your eye is healing. Ask your ophthalmologist when you can wear your lenses again.

    Protect Your Corneas