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Corneal Flash Burns

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A corneal flash burn is caused by too much ultraviolet (UV) light. The cornea is the clear layer of tissue that covers the front of your eye.

Eye Anatomy

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • Your eye is leaking blood or pus.
  • Your vision suddenly becomes worse.

Call your doctor or ophthalmologist if:

  • You have pain after 2 days of treatment.
  • Your vision does not return to normal.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Eye drops may be given to relieve pain. Use eye drops as directed.
  • Antibiotics help prevent or fight an eye infection caused by bacteria. It may be given as an eye drop or ointment.
  • Cycloplegic medicine dilates your pupil and relaxes your eye muscles. This will help decrease your pain.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Artificial tears and ointment:

Artificial tears are used to keep your eye moist. Ointment is used to soothe and protect your eye. This will decrease your pain and help prevent your eyelid from sticking to your eye. Use as directed.

Apply a cool, moist bandage

to your eye. Cover the bandage with a small ice pack to decrease pain. Use as directed.

An eye patch or shield

will help protect your eye as it heals. Wear as long as directed by your healthcare provider.

Eye Patch Eye Shield

Prevent another corneal flash burn:

  • Wear sunglasses and a hat when you are outside. Check your sunglasses for a label that says the sunglasses block UV light. Choose sunglasses that protect as much of your eyes as possible. Do not look directly into or near the sun. Wear a hat or a cap with a wide brim to shade your eyes from sunlight.
  • Wear goggles when you use a tanning bed. This will decrease the amount of UV light that reaches your eyes while you tan.
  • Wear proper work equipment. Goggles and helmets will help protect your eyes if you work with welding tools.

Follow up with your doctor or ophthalmologist in 12 to 24 hours:

You may need to return to have your eye and vision checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Corneal Flash Burns (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.