A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea. There are a wide variety of causes of corneal ulcers, including infection, physical and chemical trauma, corneal drying and exposure, and contact lens over wear and misuse. Corneal ulcers are a serious problem and may result in loss of vision or blindness. It occurs as a painful, red eye, with mild to severe eye discharge and reduced vision. This condition results from a localized infection of the cornea, similar to an abscess.
HOW IS CORNEAL ULCER DIAGNOSED?
The presence of a corneal ulcer can be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist (and other medical caregivers) through an eye examination. The ophthalmologist will be able to detect an ulcer by using a special eye microscope known as a slit lamp. A drop containing the dye fluorescein, when placed in the eye, can make the ulcer easier to see. Scrapings of the ulcer may be sent to the laboratory for identification of bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Certain bacteria, such as a species of Pseudomonas, may cause a corneal ulcer which is rapidly progressive.
HOW IS CORNEAL ULCER TREATED?
Treatment of corneal ulcer focuses on treating the cause. Anti-infective agents may be applied to the eye for getting rid of the infection. For certain viral infections, oral medication may be required. For symptoms of aggravated dryness or corneal exposure, tear substitutes will help in healing the ulcer.
DID YOU KNOW?
Anyone with an irritated eye that does not improve quickly after removing a contact lens or after mild irrigation should contact an ophthalmologist immediately. Do not borrow someone's eye drops