What are the dangers of a cat scratch to the lateral commissure of the eyelid?
May 30, 2006 7:00 PM   Subscribe

What are the dangers of a cat scratch to the lateral commissure of the eyelid?

Googling cat+scratch+eye is pretty fruitless, as 90% of the results talk about cat scratch fever. The scratch is minor, but right above the lateral commissure and there are undoubtedly all sorts of nasty critters introduced to the area now. A trip to the ophthalmologist is planned for tomorrow but are there any reasons we should go to the ER or and urgent care clinic, or any OTC antibiotics or drops we should use?
posted by Optimus Chyme to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Sounds like a job for neosporin.
posted by IronLizard at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2006

I think you are at some risk. I can't say whether you are at immediate risk or not. Have you washed with soap and water? My son (not a cat, mind you) recently scratched me and I was instructed to wash with soap and water three times a day and apply Polysporin Triple Ointment three times a day. THis is because the fingernails harbour many germs and there is a risk of infection. I do not know if you should follow the same procedure for a cat scratch. However, it would seem to make some sense. I am not a doctor or anyone else who is in a position to inform your health care decisions.
posted by acoutu at 7:16 PM on May 30, 2006

My sister the vet suggests just flushing the scratch with saline, clean it well with soap and water, and then apply Neosporin. As long as the scratch didn't actually hit the eye, she thinks the scratch should be fine, just kept clean and treated. However, thats just as long as the actual eye wasn't hurt.
posted by Atreides at 7:18 PM on May 30, 2006

Response by poster: There is no way to apply neosporin without getting it on the eye itself; same thing with soap. It is at the junction of the upper and lower eyelids, on the inside.

Here is a quick sketch; the red line signifies the scratch:

posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:45 PM on May 30, 2006

Best answer: I'm not a doctor, but I've had a few injuries to both eyes, and still have 20/20 vision in both.

If you're worried that the scratch hit your actual eye, my advice is to go to the E.R.. You'll be fine, and it's likely not necessary, but there's absolutely no point in screwing around with your eyes, so don't! The same goes for head injuries and symptoms of stroke and heart attack. Now, if you're 100% sure the scratch is only on the eyelid:

Wash your eye. Holding it open under the shower and then flushing with saline isn't too discomforting. The eyes are incredibly good at healing themselves. You'd be amazed how resilient those fantastic little things are. It's like they're made out of the stuffs of sharks. I wouldn't worry about it for a night. Your doc might prescribe antibiotics tomorrow just to be on the safe side.

I would be worried about any allergies you might have, as the injury was from an animal. If you're avoiding the E.R., after washing, you might try some Benadryl and have somebody check on you in the night to see if things get worse. This could save you some days of having an eye that's sealed itself shut. Honestly, though, all the E.R.'s ever done for my eye is put a special contact with a tube on it that they flushed saline through... just a fancy, expensive eyewash, but incredibly reassuring.
posted by dsword at 10:56 PM on May 30, 2006

My mom got a similar scratch a couple of years ago (though the cat managed to scratch her actual eyeball). She visited an opthamologist the same day, who took it very seriously and immediately dosed her up on antibiotics. It sounds like your scratch is more minor than hers was, so you're probably fine waiting until tomorrow. If you have any doubts, check on it during the night.
posted by Orrorin at 11:28 PM on May 30, 2006

Antibiotics. A cat claw doesn't cut your flesh, it tears it in a very uneven way, that makes it difficult for your body to reseal the wound by itself. This, and the nasty stuff stuck to your cat's claws, are largely responsible for the red swelling you basically get around any cat scratch.
posted by Dunwitty at 12:13 AM on May 31, 2006

Sorry, to be more specific: topical, antibiotic ointment.
posted by Dunwitty at 12:13 AM on May 31, 2006

I guess I live recklessly. While housesitting for a friend, her (indoor only) kitten freaked out and managed to hook the inside of my eyelid and gouge it (more than yours did). This was provoked by the sight of our couldn't-care-less dog.

It certainly hurt and bled a bit, but I never did anything extra to help it heal. And it did, without complications.
posted by O9scar at 8:50 AM on May 31, 2006

Response by poster: The ophthalmologist removed a tiny bit of damaged conjunctiva, which we'd missed, and prescribed Zymar, which is crazy expensive. Thanks for the answers.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:22 PM on May 31, 2006

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