“Vital” Eye Research Review: Should scratch equal patch?

Does using an eye patch help when the corneal epithelium is scratched?

Eye Research Review

Some ophthalmologists say yes and others say no.

Cochrane is an international group of researchers that review peer-reviewed evidence to make health care decisions better. I value the reviews published by Cochrane because of their comprehensive review methodology and their unbiased reporting of findings.

They recently addressed this question after reviewing 12 current studies on the topic and found the following:

Key messages

Patching probably does not speed up healing and may not have an important effect on pain relief. None of the studies provided information on the effect of patching on larger epithelial abrasions.

What is the corneal epithelium?

I don’t tend to recommend patching an eye for a corneal abrasion. Additionally, I usually do not recommend placing a bandage contact lens on a corneal abrasion for pain control because if the very early stages of infection are present, this could make the condition worse. Fortunately, most corneal abrasions heal within 2 to 3 days at which time the pain resolves. Topical antibiotic drops or ointment should be used to help prevent or treat an infection.

Read the full review here: Eye patching

If your eye gets scratched, give Dr. Mark Vital of the Houston Eye Associates a call, come in quickly, and we will be happy to help!