What is a corneal ulcer?
A corneal ulcer is an open ulcer that is found in the outer layer of the cornea. If the corneal ulcer is not treated, it can lead to the appearance of scars on the cornea, to a considerable loss of vision or even to the loss of the eye.
What are the symptoms of a corneal ulcer?
The main symptoms are:
- blurred or cloudy vision
- itching and discharge
- eye that looks red or bloody
- tearful and very sore eyes
- photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- white patch on the cornea
What are the causes of a corneal ulcer?
The cause is usually an infection by bacteria, a virus, fungus or a parasite. Other causes are severe dry eyes, a severe allergic disease, the eyelids not closing well or foreign bodies in the eye.
Can a corneal ulcer be prevented?
The recommended measures to prevent a corneal ulcer are:
- washing one's hands thoroughly before using contact lenses
- avoiding contact lenses during the night
- receiving a timely and early treatment for any eye infection
What is the treatment for a corneal ulcer?
Treatment depends on the cause of the ulcer. Once it is known, drops may be prescribed to treat herpes, bacteria, other viruses or a fungus.
If the exact cause is not known, antibiotic drops are usually prescribed since they are effective against many types of bacteria.
In cases of severe ulcers, it is sometimes necessary to perform a corneal transplant, which involves replacing the cornea with the tissue of a donor.