Is there a difference between a scratched eye and a scratched cornea?

Published on
January 9, 2023

Corneal abrasions, or scratched corneas, are a common occurrence and make up a significant portion of eye injury cases. In fact, around 10% of emergency eye care is related to corneal abrasions.

A scratched eye, is another name for a corneal abrasion, it is a common and usually minor injury that occurs when something scratches the clear, protective layer that covers the front of the eye. 

Although a corneal abrasion is generally a minor injury it is important to get it seen right away in order to prevent infection. This is because the cornea is extremely important to our vision, the cornea is a  transparent layer at the front of the eye that helps focus light, and if it is damaged it can cause distorted vision. 

The cornea is one of the most sensitive parts of our body and you can usually tell if you scratched the cornea because of pain. A scratched eye or scratched cornea can cause pain, redness, and sensitivity to light. 

What causes a scratched eye?

A scratched eye can happen from a variety of causes, one of the most common causes is by a foreign object, such as a piece of dirt or a contact lens, getting into the eye and scratching the cornea. It can also be caused by rubbing the eye too hard or by accidentally poking the eye with a finger or other object. While most cases of scratches to the eye heal on their own it is always a good idea to visit our optometrist so that they can examine the scratch under a microscope and if needed provide treatment. 

Treatment may include antibiotics, special eye drops or ointments, specialized bandage contact lenses, and in rare cases, surgery.

Can a scratched eye or scratched cornea heal on its own?

In most cases, a scratched eye will heal on its own within a few days with proper treatment. If the pain is not subsiding, your vision is impacted, or you have symptoms that persist, you should schedule an emergency eye exam by calling us at (423) 710 3965. While most cases do not lead to any long term damage, it is important to make sure that the wound heals properly and does not cause infection or scarring, this is especially true if the scratch is deep. In the case of severe eye pain or vision impairment, visit our eye doctor as soon as possible.

Visit us at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga for an eye emergency

If you think you may have a scratched eye or scratched cornea, it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible. Our eye doctor in Hixson can diagnose and treat a scratched eye and scratched cornea, and help you preserve your vision. Call us at (423) 710 3965 if you suspect you have a scratched eye or a scratched cornea. Patients with eye emergencies like a scratched eye or a scratched cornea visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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