It is an open sore in the outer layer of the cornea. A corneal ulcer may cause redness of the eyelid and/or conjunctiva, pain, a feeling that something is in the eye; tearing and pus or thick discharge draining from the eye may occur. If the ulcer is more centrally located in the cornea, vision might be blurry. There may be an increase in pain when the person looks at bright lights.
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 is aimed at eradicating the cause of the ulcer. Anti-infective agents directed at the inciting microbial agent will be used in cases of corneal ulcer due to infection. Generally, these will be in the form of drops or ointments to be placed in the eye; but occasionally, especially in certain viral infections, oral medications will also be employed. Occasionally, steroids will be added, but should only be used after examination by an eye doctor or other physician using a slit lamp, because, in some situations, steroids may hinder healing or aggravate the infection.
In cases aggravated by dryness or corneal exposure, tear substitutes will be used, possibly accompanied by patching or a bandage contact lens.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wearing of contact lenses must be discontinued till corneal ulcer heals