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Corneal Ulcer

Corneal ulcer occurs when the cornea swells due to an infection of some kind and later develops an ulcer or open sore. People suffering from this eye condition experience red and painful eyes. Discharges are also noted on the affected eye along with reduced vision. This vision problem is also called corneal keratitis which requires immediate medical attention to avoid permanent loss of vision.

The treatment of corneal ulcer helps restore good vision. It is designed individually based on the underlying cause of the ulcer. The condition can be treated by taking appropriate medications or surgical intervention for those with severe cases of ulcer in the cornea. The correct diagnosis and timely treatment is extremely important to prevent it from causing permanent blindness.

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Cornea – Functions

The cornea plays a vital role in one’s vision. It is the transparent structure in the eyes located on top of the iris. The iris is the colored portion of the eyes. This seemingly frail structure is actually very strong, performing two crucial roles.

  • Provides optimum eye protection

The cornea protects the eyes from harmful objects, dust and germs. It works together with the eyelids, sclera, eye socket and tears in protecting the eyes. In addition, the eyes are prone to injuries against UV radiation from sunlight and the cornea provides the needed protection against this.

  • Facilitates sharp vision

The cornea plays a big role in the overall focusing capabilities of the eyes. The cornea refracts the light into the lens, which likewise adjusts the light’s focus into the retina, finally converting it into images. The cornea and lens work together in fine-tuning the focus of light rays to the retina in order to give clear and sharp images.

Who are susceptible to Corneal Ulcer?

There are groups of people who are at risk of suffering from corneal keratitis. These people are:

  • Wearers of contact lens

Corneal keratitis is high among contact lens wearers as they are vulnerable to eye irritation. The lens may rub the surface of the eyes and damage the epithelium, giving bacteria access to the eyes. They can reduce the risk of developing corneal keratitis by observing good hygiene when handling their contact lenses.

  • Long-time users of steroid drops

The frequent use of eye drops that contain steroids invite fungal infections which could later inflame the cornea.

  • Suffering from dry eyes and other eyelid disorders

Dry eyes can be caused by either allergic reactions or some kinds of eye disorders, thus in turn make the eyes susceptible to infections and ulcers. Eyelid disorders also invite bacteria and viruses into the eyes which could infect the cornea.

  • Suffering from corneal burns or injuries

Corneal burns or injuries caused by accidentally splashing harmful chemicals into the eyes could increase a person’s chances of getting corneal ulcer.

Corneal Ulcer – Causes

Corneal keratitis is a result of trauma or injury to the cornea. This is could be due to:

  • Infections

This is often the main cause of corneal ulcer. Corneal infection could be due to bacteria which are common among wearers of contact lenses, fungi due to long-term and inappropriate use of eye drops with steroids or contact lens, or cold sore virus or chicken pox virus.

  • Dry eyes

Dry eyes, which occur for a variety of reasons, make a favorable environment for infection due to the absence of tears which help fight off germs.

  • Injuries

Injuries could come in the form of chemical burns, cuts from harmful particles or eyelashes rubbing the cornea.

  • Eyelid disorders

Eyelid disorder causes the cornea to become dry and this attracts germs into the eye.

How is Corneal Ulcer manifested?

People with corneal keratitis will suffer from red and sore eyes. The affected eye or eyes are so painful and tear easily. Those suffering from corneal ulcer feel that something is lodged in their eyes and will likewise notice pus coming from the eye. They also become sensitive to light and develop blurry vision. Furthermore, white spots can be seen on the affected eye, although some may not notice easily.

Corneal Ulcer Diagnosis and Treatment

Corneal keratitis requires an immediate trip to an eye specialist, usually an ophthalmologist. He or she will examine the eyes using the slit lamp to magnify the cornea and detect any corneal damage. The doctor will put a dye fluorescein drop into the affected eye and examine the cornea through slit the lamp. Corneal keratitis must be diagnosed and treated immediately to prevent it permanent blindness.

Corneal keratitis treatment helps patients by alleviating the painful sensation as well as preventing further damage. The treatment is based on the underlying cause and may involve the use of antiviral or antifungal eye drops. Antibiotics as well as oral pain medicines may also be utilized. Surgery is another option to restore vision.

Healing time of Corneal Ulcer

The healing time of corneal ulcer  and stopping of medications depend on a variety of factors like the cause of the ulcer, the location, the depth and the  size. Usually, the healing time for corneal ulcer is within two or three weeks.  The treatment may continue longer on the doctor’s discretion if there are chances of potential scarring.

Corneal Ulcer Pictures

 

 

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