Can you get a scratch on your eye from contacts?

Written by megan allyce snider
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Can you get a scratch on your eye from contacts?
Contacts can cause scratches on your eye. (Image by, courtesy of agno_agnus)

Eye scratches caused by nicked or torn contact lenses can occur. They are often painful and prevent a person from wearing his contacts. In some cases, contact wearers may see halos around light sources and display other symptoms such as the need to rub the eye, or an eye that is oversensitive to touch.

Eye Anatomy

Scratches or cuts on the surface of the eye are called corneal abrasions. The cornea is the outer most layer of the eye and can become irritated by small cuts or scratches. These scratches may cause vision problems and severe pain on the surface of the eye when touched by the air or a contact lens.


Causes of corneal abrasions are commonly linked with the use of old or nicked contacts. Other reasons for scratches on the eye are from animal or human fingernails, foreign objects such as dust hitting the eye, excessive rubbing of the eye, overexposure to ultraviolet light, arc welding light exposure, make-up brushes, paper cuts, chemical burns, or irregular eyelashes rubbing the eye or falling into the eye.


Scratches can be caused also by underlying conditions of the eye or the eyelid. Some symptoms of scratches are the inability to fully close the eyelid, abnormal eyelid position, severe dry eye or inflamed eye lids.

Treatment and First Aid

Most simple abrasions heal within a day or two. However, common tips can help keep the eye feeling comfortable when the scratch becomes painful. Tips such as keeping the eye shut, not rubbing it, removing contact lenses, using artificial tears to keep the eye hydrated and comfortable, using water to rinse out the eye, and wearing sunglasses to keep the eye from painful lights.

Eye Care

Continued eye care and maintenance can help prevent further eye scratches and problems. Some tips include wearing protective eye wear in situations where they are called for, being careful when using brushes or around foreign objects that may be caught between the eyelid and the eye, and cleansing and removing contact lenses as your doctor advises.

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