The cornea is the transparent part of the eyeball that lies over and protects the pupil. Its job is protection and occasionally it may get scratched or damaged, usually by a foreign object. Infections can attack the cornea and a not uncommon cause is herpes, which causes a branching effect over the cornea and is known as a dendritic ulcer.

Corneal scratches are very painful and made worse by the eyelid rubbing the area as it blinks. Watering and redness are characteristic and the eye is generally kept shut and still.

The cornea is well supplied by blood vessels and tends to heal fairly rapidly but whilst damaged it is open to infection.

Ulceration of the cornea (the front part of the eye) is most commonly caused by trauma but may be associated with rarer diseases and malnutrition. It is a painful and serious condition insomuch that if it is not dealt with properly the pain continues and, if it is associated with illness, blindness may result if the ulceration worsens.

Any eye injury involving foreign matter should be cleansed with running water if possible .

A cold compress over the closed eye may give relief.

Any eye injury must be reviewed by a doctor, however slight, and accept a referral to a specialist if necessary .

With any eye injury take the homeopathic remedy aconite or Hepar sulphuris calcarium potency 6 or 12, four pills immediately and every 15min until you are seen by a medical person.

An accurate selection of a remedy from your preferred homeopathic manual is recommended should other symptoms set in .

General advice includes patching the eye, although recently it has been advised to keep the eye open to the air to allow faster healing.

Severe damage may heal faster by taking beta-carotene (5mgs) with each meal if you are over the age of 12 or proportionately less (best prescribed by a nutritionist) if you are younger.

Euphrasia (eyebright) lotion, 1 drop in an eggcupful of water, can be very soothing and antiseptic.