Little babies love to explore their face with their hands. Unfortunately, the combination of sharp nails and curious fingers is a set up for a scratched eye.
- Red eye – the “whites” of the eye will be very sore and red.
- Excessive tears
- Suddenly fussy – your baby is happy one moment, then suddenly becomes very fussy and difficult to console for many hours.
- Scratch marks around the eye
- Symptoms in only one eye
Your doctor will perform a fluoroscene eye exam if a scratched eye is suspected. Fluoroscene is a harmless and painless orange dye that your doctor will put in the eye. He then will shine a fluorescent light into the eyes. If there is a scratch, the dye will stick to the scratch and this will show up under the fluorescent light.
- Eye patch – your doctor will place this over the eye to keep it closed. This allows the scratch to heal. It is generally left on for two days
- Antibiotic ointment – your doctor will place this in the eye before the patch is put on. This keeps the scratch from getting infected. The ointment is repeated every 12 – 24 hours.
- Follow up – depending on the size of the scratch, your doctor may or may not repeat the eye exam in two or three days. If the scratch is still present, a visit to an eye doctor is usually warranted.
If you suspect your child has an eye scratch, don’t worry! Most eye scratches are not too serious and will heal perfectly with proper treatment. It should be evaluated within 4 – 6 hours. So if it’s the middle of the night, you can wait until morning. If it’s day or early evening, it is probably prudent to seek medical attention that day.