The cornea is the clear part that covers the eye. A corneal laceration is when there is a cut on the cornea. It is normally caused by something sharp that flys into the eye. It can also be caused by something hitting the eye with remarkable force, like a metallic hand tool. A corneal laceration is more extensive than a corneal abrasion, cutting partially or all the way through the cornea. If the corneal laceration is cut deep enough it can cause a full thickness laceration. This is when the laceration cuts completely through the cornea and causes a ruptured globe, a tear in the outer surface of the eyeball itself.

A corneal laceration is a very severe injury and requires immediate medical attention to avoid serious vision loss.

If your eye is injured, you should do the following immediately:

gently cover the eye to protect it. Cut away the bottom part of a paper cup and tape this piece to the area around the eye. Keep this over your eye to protect until you get medical help.
do not rinse with water
do not remove the object stuck in the eye do not rub or apply pressure to eye avoid giving aspirin, ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs can cause thinning of the blood and may increase bleeding after you have finished protecting the eye, see a physician as soon as possible.

The majority of corneal lacerations can be avoided by using protective eyewear during high-risk activities.

What are corneal laceration symptoms?

Corneal laceration symptoms may include:

  • severe pain
  • tearing
  • sensitivity to light, fuzzy or decreased vision, bleeding (blood in the eye)
  • the feeling that there is something in the eye

What causes corneal laceration?

Activities in which objects can fly into the eye at an intense speed can cause a corneal laceration. The most common reasons behind a corneal laceration are such activities:

cutting wood, grinding metal, trimming grass, carving stone

Always wear protective eyewear while working on household projects. Flying fragments can injure the unprotected eye.

Contact with dust, dirt, sand, or even an edge of a piece of paper can potentially put a cut in the cornea if enough force is involved.

The majority of corneal lacerations can be avoided by using protective eyewear during high-risk activities.

How is a corneal laceration diagnosed?

If you have any corneal laceration symptoms, you should see an ophthalmologist right away. He or she will provide you with a complete eye examination to figure out the extent of the injury. Your ophthalmologist will find out whether the cut is a partial thickness or full thickness laceration.

Your ophthalmologist may use a slit lamp to diagnose a corneal laceration

To examine your corneal laceration, your ophthalmologist may place numbing drops into your eye so that it can stay open for the examination. He or she may also carry out a fluorescein eye stain. This is a test that utilizes orange dye (fluorescein) and blue light to detect potential damage to the cornea.

Corneal laceration treatment

Surgery is usually done to close the corneal laceration. Surgery helps:

  • prevent further damage to the eye
  • remove any foreign objects that are still present in the eye after the injury

Serious lacerations may need multiple surgeries for repair and can result in permanent loss of vision.

After the surgery, your eye may be patched in order to protect it. Also, your ophthalmologist may give you medications. These can include medication for pain and to help you to heal.
If you have a corneal laceration, you may be at risk for other complications, such as retinal detachment, infection or glaucoma.
It is highly important that you keep in touch with your ophthalmologist for care after your immediate treatment.


A corneal laceration is when the cornea has a cut. They are usually caused by something sharp flying into the eye. A corneal laceration needs to be treated right away to avoid vision loss. Surgery is usually needed to prevent further damage to the eye and to remove any foreign objects from the eye. After surgery, you may need to wear a patch. Medication may be needed for pain and to help you heal.

If you have any concerns in regards to your eyes or your vision, speak with your ophthalmologist. He or she is committed to protecting your sight.