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What is conjunctiva?

The conjunctiva is a thin mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. The cornea is a clear, transparent, protective tissue covering the front part of the eye. A tear or injury to the cornea and conjunctiva is often described as a scratch or abrasion that is caused superficially on the delicate surface of the cornea and conjunctiva. It is one of the most common eye injuries seen.

What are Corneal Tears?

Tears can occur due to various reasons such as poking a fingernail into the eye or a makeup brush, or dirt, sawdust, sand or any foreign particle entering the eye. Chemical or radiation burns, rubbing the eyes aggressively and improper placement of the contact lenses or wearing dirty contact lenses can also cause corneal and conjunctival tears. People who are exposed to the sun for long periods and have dry eyes are more prone to have a corneal injury. The symptoms are a pain in the eye, redness, blurred vision, feeling of burning and discomfort, sensitivity to light, watery eyes and swelling.

Diagnosis of Conjunctival and Corneal Tears

    A conjunctival and corneal tear is generally diagnosed with :

  • Physical examination
  • Standard ophthalmic examination
  • Slit-lamp examination and fluorescein instillation.

Treatments for Conjunctival and Corneal Tears

The treatment of a conjunctival and corneal tear depends on the severity of the damage. If the injury is mild, then the conventional method of treatment of flushing the eyes with clean water while blinking the eyes will be recommended. It is always advised not to touch the eyeball or rub the eyes forcefully. If the injury is of moderate severity, then the doctor may recommend antibiotic eye drops and lubricants. If the injury is caused due to a chemical burn, the eye should be flushed with water for 15 minutes and the patient taken to the emergency room for evaluation. Most tears heal within 48 hours but some take a week or so to heal depending on the depth of the abrasion. It is important to understand that untreated corneal tears can lead to corneal ulceration which can cause blindness. Prompt attention to all eye injuries warrants a follows up by your eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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