Are signs and symptoms associated with persistent corneal abrasions in children?

Kristine K. Rittichier, Mark G. Roback, Kathlene E. Bassett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: 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. Objective: To determine if signs and symptoms at follow-up were associated with the presence of a persistent corneal abrasion or abnormal visual acuity. Design: Retrospective case series. Setting: A children's hospital Patients: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: Signs and symptoms are inconsistently associated with persistent corneal abrasions. Asymptomatic patients may have persistent corneal abrasions, suggesting the need for selective follow-ups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-374
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000


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