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Corneal Flash Burns


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

Eye Anatomy



  • Pain medicine: You may be given prescription medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. This medicine may be given as an eye drop or pill.
  • Antibiotic medicine: This medicine will help prevent an eye infection. It may be given as an eye drop or ointment.
  • Cycloplegic medicine: This 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider 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.

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.

Cool, moist bandage:

This is applied to your eye and covered with a small ice pack to decrease pain. Use as directed.

Eye patch or shield:

An eye patch or plastic shield will help protect your eye as it heals. Wear it as long as directed by your healthcare provider.

Eye Patch Eye Shield

Prevent another corneal flash burn:

  • Wear sunglasses when you are outside: Check your sunglasses for a label that says it blocks UV light. Choose sunglasses that protect as much of your eyes as possible. Do not look directly into the sun.
  • Wear a hat: Wear a hat or a cap with a wide brim to shade your eyes from sunlight.
  • Wear tanning bed goggles: 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.

Contact your healthcare provider 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.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

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

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

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

Learn more about Corneal Flash Burns (Discharge Care)

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