Dr. Angus Turner of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in East Melbourne, Australia says that simple corneal abrasions need not be treated by patching the eye. Doing so might actually slow healing and does not reduce pain, a new review of several studies has found.
"The abrasions on the eye normally don't affect vision too much, so it is pointless rendering a patient acutely monocular if there is no good reason to do so," Turner said. Dr Turner and a colleague analyzed 11 randomized controlled trials of 1014 patients who had a simple, uninfected corneal abrasion. It was found that patients who were treated without patching the eye had faster healing times and did not report any significant differences in pain levels as compared to patients who were patched. "It is therefore reasonable to conclude that patching the eye is not useful for the treatment of simple, traumatic corneal abrasions," the researchers say in their paper published in The Cochrane Library, published by The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Corneal abrasions are the most common injuries to the eye. They heal quickly, but are very painful. "Over time, more trials were completed, but still people in emergency departments all around the world continued to use patches when there was no evidence for their use," Turner said. The researchers added that in patients who were patched antibiotics and drops were only given before patching, whereas non-patched patients received them several times, which could explain the faster healing.