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Old 01-23-19, 07:21 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Can bicycling abrade the corneas?

Several years ago I had an acute corneal abrasion after a bike ride.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
As a public service announcement to my fellow cyclists, today I suffered a corneal abrasion. I did an 18 mile commute this morning into a moderate headwind but otherwise uneventful. I wear eyeglasses and had no problems with anything blowing into my eyes.

About one half hour after arriving at work, and just sitting quietly at a meeting, my eye felt like it had a particle in it. I saw no foreign material in the eyelid, nor did anyone else, and it was not relieved at an eyewash station.

I was lucky enough to get an appointment with an eye specialist at about an hour after the onset, and he did identify some black particles, and diagnosed the abrasion. From an online medical textbook:
Originally Posted by Up-to-Date.com
Often patients are too uncomfortable to work, drive, or read, and the pain frequently precludes sleep. Multiple attempts by the patient to "wash out" the eye can further disrupt the epithelial surface….

Patients with a foreign body may or may not recall an episode with material falling or flying into the eye since, depending upon the type and size of the foreign body, symptoms may not be immediate, or they may be immediate, then abate for awhile, then recur….

Patients may have had severe pain for several hours by the time they seek care. They are visibly uncomfortable, pacing or rocking or rubbing the eye, and they can be disruptive to a waiting room. During the initial triage period, they should be offered a darkened room in which to wait, asked to wait quietly with the eyes closed, and encouraged not to rub the eye…

In theory, a pressure patch promotes epithelial proliferation and migration by keeping the lid lowered and stationary over the epithelial defect; such pressure is also thought to relieve pain….Thus, the lack of proven benefit with patching, the possibility of improper patching, and potential patient discomfort and inconvenience suggest that it is reasonable to treat corneal abrasions without an eye patch.

Most corneal abrasions heal regardless of therapy in 24 to 72 hours. Vision should return to normal in that time,
My eye doctor claimed 24 to 48 hours to recovery, and my colleague (female), who asked me if I poked myself with an eyeliner wand, claimed she has gotten better overnight.

I wasn't able to work today as it was difficult even to just keep the uninvolved eye open because that irritated the affected eye. The eye doctor didn't think a patch would be useful, though I used an improvised one for a while until I realized it was probably further abrading the cornea. I was given an antibiotic ointment and I've spent most of my day with my eyes closed.


I took Alleve for the pain, and have some heavy-duty analgesics available if I need them to sleep tonight. Pain management to get over the initial phase is discussed in that article.

It's now about 15 hours after the onset of symptoms. I note improvement, and only now can keep my unaffected eye open long enough to work at the computer. I'm pretty nearsighted, and unfortunately the better eye is the involved one.


The prognosis of quick improvement has been an encouraging thought to get over this. So that's what I learned about corneal abrasions, FYI.
Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
I got corneal abrasions a couple of times when I used to wear contacts. Nothing like feeling someone took a piece of sandpaper to your eye.

I hope you feel better soon. If I remember, it took a couple of days for the scratchiness to go away.
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