Corneal abrasions are common eye injuries in children. Most are treated with antibiotic drops or ointment, patching of the affected eye, and follow-up within 24 hours to confirm resolution by fluorescein examination.
To determine if signs and symptoms at follow-up were associated with the presence of a persistent corneal abrasion or abnormal visual acuity.
Retrospective case series.
A children's hospital.
Children who were aged 4 years or older with the diagnosis of corneal abrasion between May 1992 and December 1996 and who had a follow-up examination.
Seventy-seven patients (57% male) were enrolled (median age, 7 years). The respective sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive values, and negative predictive values of selective signs and symptoms for persistent abrasions were as follows: for pain, 53%, 93%, 80%, and 80%; for photophobia, 57%, 100%, 100%, and 80%; for redness, 100%, 46%, 44%, and 100%; for pain and redness, 40%, 96%, 80%, and 80%; and for at least 1 sign or symptom, 95%, 48%, 47%, and 95%. Twenty-six patients had persistent corneal abrasions at follow-up. Six of these 26 patients were symptom free at follow-up, and 15 patients had only redness as a persistent sign. Five patients had abnormal visual acuity, one of whom was asymptomatic. All 3 patients with complications were symptomatic.
Signs and symptoms are inconsistently associated with persistent corneal abrasions. Asymptomatic patients may have persistent corneal abrasions, suggesting the need for selective follow-ups.