Best Evidence Topics
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Is follow up needed for corneal abrasions?

Three Part Question

[In adults with simple corneal abrasions] does [ophthalmological follow up] reduce [time to healing and long term complications?]

Clinical Scenario

A 42 year old man presents to the emergency department complaining of a 6 hour history of painful right eye after it was scratched by a twig during gardening. The clinician presecribes topical antibiotics, advises the patient to use lubricants and arranges a review in 48 hours. You wonder whether there's any evidence to support this decision.

Search Strategy

Medline 1966-2005 using the OVID interface:
({[exp cornea OR cornea.ti,ab,rw,sh] AND abrasion$.ti,ab,rw,sh} AND [exp follow up])
(Conreal abrasions and follow up)

Search Outcome

114 papers were found of which all were irrelevant.


Ophthalmological followup is traditional and common practice after the treatment of corneal abrasions. However no evidence (i.e. original outcome-based research) supporting any recommendations seen in textbooks or journals were found in our search.

Clinical Bottom Line

Whilst there seems to be a consensus amongst clinicians that follow up is necessary for patients with corneal abrasions, there are differences between clinicians on the exact details of such follow up e.g. when is it to be done and who is going to do it? Therefore health care professionals should abide to the policy set by their local hospital.