A scratched eye can range from minor irritation to a full-blown eye emergency. The following details what to do should you suffer such an injury.

Common Causes and Symptoms of a Scratched Eye

  •     Causes
  •     Symptoms


A scratched eye happens when something causes direct trauma to the organ itself. This might occur during the most innocuous activities, such as housework, gardening, playing a sport, cooking, games with your pet, etc.


Symptoms range in severity and can occur immediately following the incident or hours afterward. They include:


      Blood – usually a spot

      A visible scratch

      General redness

      Feeling like something is in your eye

      A tearing sensation

      Blurred vision

      Photophobia (sensitivity to light) 


Some of these can be symptoms of what’s called a ‘corneal abrasion’. This is where the cornea itself sustains an injury. While most heal without an issue, it can be a threat to vision should scarring occur. 

What to Do for a Scratched Eye

  •     What to do in an emergency
  •     How to treat minor scratches

What to do in an Emergency

In an emergency, you should seek expert help or visit the emergency room. Cover both eyes and don’t delay treatment.

However, most scratched eyes are minor and can either be dealt with yourself or through your ophthalmologist. 

How to treat minor scratches

If you scratch your eye your first port of call should be to speak to your eye doctor who can advise on what to do. Immediate steps should include:

      Rinsing your eye with a saline solution or clean water. Use an eye bath or small glass to do so. This might help flush any foreign object out of the eye.

      Blink—a lot! This encourages tears that will help flush the eye.

      Don’t rub your eye, this can cause further scratching if there’s a foreign object in the eye

      Pull your upper eyelid over the lower eyelid. This might cause the lashes on the lower lid to brush away anything that’s caught on the upper lid.

Once the problem has been determined by your eye doctor, you can help the healing process by carrying out the following:

      Wear sunglasses if you’re experiencing sensitivity to light

      Don’t wear contact lenses.

      Leave your eye alone to heal. Much as it’s tempting to keep touching your eye this will only impede the body’s natural ability to repair itself. This also means not attempting to remove any foreign body with cotton swabs, gauze, tissues, or anything else. You’ll be likely to cause more damage than good.

      Don’t use eye drops. Especially those that are designed to remove redness.

How Long Does a Scratched Eye Take to Heal?

  •     Healing times

Healing times

After your ophthalmologist has examined your scratched eye he/she will tell you how long to expect the healing process to take. This can range from days to weeks, but you should be heartened by the knowledge that eye injuries often heal fast—quicker, very often, than injuries to your skin.

Your eye doctor will advise on pain relief (usually over the counter analgesia), prescribe any necessary medication, and whether or not you should refrain from carrying out any activities during the healing process.

Contact the West Boca Eye Center for Routine and Emergency Eye Health

Eye emergencies are frightening, and it’s essential to reach out to expert health on such occasions. The West Boca Eye Center, led by a globally-renowned clinician, Brent Bellotte MD., should be the first stop for those in Boca Raton and surrounding areas should such an incident occur. Their experienced team will also welcome you for premier routine eye exams, laser vision correction, cataract surgery, and everything related to visual health.

Discover more at West Boca Eye Center and get in contact now to schedule your appointment.