Corneal ulcers
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Corneal ulcers, known in the medical world as Ulcerative Keratitis, is an inflammation in the cornea. It commonly occurs to people residing in the tropics and those who are in agricultural societies.


A corneal ulcer may form once the cornea is compromised or damaged. Ulcers may either be sterile or infectious. The latter, of course, poses risk factors than the former. The ulcer being sterile does not mean that it is safe either. If not cured, corneal ulcers may cause great loss to the patient and his family. This is especially true in developing countries. Children who contract the disease are likely to become blind in both their eyes.


Corneal ulcers are mostly caused by infections. Bacterial, viral and fungal infections all appear to be triggers for the occurrence of the condition. Improper care when using contact lenses and steroid-containing eye drops are particularly spotted as sources of corneal ulcers.

Eye disorders which can make your eye either teary or dry are also known factors that cause corneal ulcers. Bell’s palsy and every other condition that reduces sensation in the surface of the cornea also increase a person’s risk to develop inflammation.


As mentioned earlier, the use of contact lenses is a major risk factor for corneal ulcers. To be safe, avoid using extended-wear contact lenses, which are left in the eye for a couple of days. This does not only increases the occurrence of corneal ulcers tenfold but also makes the patient vulnerable to other eye conditions.

The most common symptoms of corneal ulcers are redness, constant tearing, and pain felt throughout the eye. Swollen eyelids, eye discharge, blurry vision, inability to look at bright lights, and a gray spot in the cornea are also sure signs that you have corneal ulcers. If there is a noticeable change in vision, chronic pain in the eye, and thick discharge coming from the eye, the patient must consult a doctor immediately.


Corneal ulcers are diagnosed or detected through physical and clinical exams. If the doctor suspects the onset of infection, he will even take a sample of the ulcer and bring it to the laboratory for further tests. Accurate diagnosis is significant for the choice of a proper treatment.

Once corneal ulcer is detected, the ophthalmologist or the doctor specializing in eye care would suggest you to take a rest from contact lenses while under treatment. An eye patch is often prescribed to offer relief. In most cases, corneal ulcers are treated outpatient but in severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

The use of medication in oral form, usually administered directly in the eye, is also popularly employed. Such medications are meant to treat the infection and alleviate the pain. Topical antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral medicines are prescribed depending on what suits the patient’s condition better. Topical cycloplegics, meanwhile, are used as pain killers. Atropine and homatropine are common forms of this kind of treatment.
corneal ulcers
Image: Corneal ulcers

Corneal ulcers that are just in surface can be healed in a week or so. Deep ulcers, however, take longer to heal and may even require the use of a surgery procedure.

The last resort of patients with corneal ulcers is surgery. If all sort of medication fails to provide relief or alleviate the symptoms of the condition, patients can seek cure from conjunctival flaps or corneal transplant. A corneal transplant is often suggested to patients whose scar from the ulcers impaired their vision completely. Undergoing the knife would help restore the normal vision and provide optimal relief.


All types of treatment are often carried out with proper food intake. Sufficient amount of Vitamin C, protein, and Vitamin A is often required. Vitamin A supplements administered intravenously is sometimes prescribed to battle vitamin deficiency.

Patients under treatment for corneal ulcers must be very cautious about drug use. Topical applications of anesthetics and corticosteroids must be avoided because the elements of those drugs often aggravate the condition.


Prevention, they say, is better than cure. This is especially helpful when you are dealing with life-changing health conditions such as corneal ulcers. A lot of people may overlook the importance of taking precautionary measures for this seemingly simple eye condition. Then again, you would not want to be of increased risk for corneal ulcers before you even take action.

Contact lenses are such a convenient alternative to eye glasses but if they pose such a risk as losing your eyesight completely due to complications, you may want to think it over if you really need them. If you are already using contact lenses, make sure that you mind all the proper care that you need to be safe. Be careful in cleaning and wearing them. Never use tap water or your saliva to clean or lubricate them. Take off your contact lenses at night and clean them thoroughly before wearing them again. Do not wait until your doctor instructs you to take off your lenses. Once you feel irritation or any kind of discomfort, take a rest from wearing your lenses and consult your doctor immediately.

Proper diagnosis and treatment must also be considered as top concerns. Corneal ulcers are not just simple health conditions. They should cause for hospital emergency. If you let the inflammation to spread in your eye, you are making yourself vulnerable to becoming blind. Corneal ulcers could also cause different, more severe eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataract if not treated immediately.

Do not make the mistake of sharing someone’s prescription with the same condition as yours. As with any kind of health threat, corneal ulcers differ in terms of sources and the needed treatments. Only an eye specialist who have seen you and examined you personally would know the proper treatments to rescue you from utter discomfort. As mentioned earlier, bacterial, fungal, and viral infections may occur separately and they all require different types of treatments. The ophthalmologist needs to establish that fact first before he can effectively suggest clinical treatments. Corneal ulcers should not be difficult to battle if you are careful and smart enough to choose professionally handled therapies.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

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