What is a Corneal Ulcer ?
A corneal ulcer is an inflammatory or infective condition of the cornea involving disruption of its epithelial layer with involvement of the corneal stroma. The cornea covers the iris (the coloured portion of the eye), and the round pupil, much like a watch crystal covers the face of a watch.
How is it Caused?
Small tears to the cornea may cause corneal ulcers. These tears can come from direct trauma, scratches or particles such as sand, glass or small pieces of metal. Such injuries damage the cornea and make it easier for bacteria to invade and cause an ulcer.
People who wear contact lenses are at an increased risk of corneal ulcers. In fact, your chances of corneal ulcerations increase ten times when using extended-wear soft contact lenses. Extended-wear contact lenses are those contact lenses that are worn for several days without removing them at night.
What are the symptoms of Corneal Ulcer?
Red-eye, Severe pain, Feeling that something is in your eye, Tears, Pus or thick discharge draining from your eye, Blurry vision, Pain when looking at bright lights, Swollen eyelids, A white round spot on the cornea that is visible with the naked eye if the ulcer is huge
Corneal Ulcer Treatment
Antibiotics, antifungal or antiviral eye drops are the mainstays of treatment. Sometimes antifungal tablets will be prescribed, or an injection of medication is given near the eye for surgery. Oral pain medication may be prescribed to reduce pain.
If symptoms of corneal ulcer continue after treatment — including pain and redness of the eye, tearing and discharge from the eye and blurry vision — let your ophthalmologist know right away so a different course of treatment can be started promptly. If corneal ulcers cannot be treated with medication, surgery may be needed to keep your vision. A corneal transplant can replace your damaged cornea with a healthy donor cornea to restore vision.