A scratched cornea or corneal abrasion is one of the most commonly reported eye injuries. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a common eye infection. Both conditions cause red, irritated, watery eyes. It isn't always easy to decide if eye irritation is from conjunctivitis or a scratched cornea. There are three types of pink eye: viral, bacterial, and allergic. A scratched cornea is the result of damaged or lost cells in the epithelium or the top layer of the cornea. Corneal abrasions vary in severity depending on the extent of damaged epithelial cells.
A scratched cornea only occurs in one eye unless both eyes are injured at the same time. Pink eye starts in one eye, but infection usually spreads to the other eye as well. The infection is more severe in the first eye. Corneal abrasions cannot spread from one eye to the other because scratches are a result of injury, not pathogens.
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