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Corneal abrasions usually heal without causing any other problem. Even after the original injury is healed, however, the surface of the cornea is sometimes not as smooth as before. Some people who have had a corneal abrasion notice that the eye feels irritated again some time after the abrasion heals.

This feeling may be a sign of trouble with the corneal epithelium, a thin layer of cells on the surface of the cornea. These cells are important for the healing of corneal abrasions. Any spot where the cells do not grow back to protect the surface of the cornea results in irritation.

When the cells keep growing back and then slipping off again, it is called recurrent corneal erosion. This problem can develop days or even years after the initial injury. Recurrent corneal erosions can cause a great deal of discomfort. Your doctor might recommend using eye drops to lubricate the eye. It might be necessary to stop wearing contact lenses altogether. In some cases, surgery might be recommended to make the corneal surface smooth again.

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