What is a corneal ulcer?
A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea, which is the thin transparent layer above the iris (the coloured part of your eye). It is also known as keratitis.
Corneal ulcer symptoms
It can cause corneal ulcers:
- Sharp pain
- Feeling that something is in your eyes
- Pus or thick secretions from your eye
- Blurry vision
- Pain when looking at bright lights
- Swollen eyelids
- A round white spot on the cornea
Causes of corneal ulcer
Most cases of corneal ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection that invades the cornea – often after an eye injury, trauma, or other damage.
- Contact lens wearers are particularly vulnerable to eye irritation that can lead to corneal ulcers. Contact lenses may rub against the outside of the eye, making slight harm to the epithelium that may empower microscopic organisms to enter the eye.
- On the off chance that you wear Contact lenses, you can build your odds of evading a corneal ulcer by rehearsing great cleanliness, for example, washing your hands before taking care of the focal points and following other security rules.
- Contact lens wearers who neglect to eliminate their lenses before swimming significantly increment the danger of building up a corneal ulcer from spinal keratitis.
Other than bacterial contamination, different reasons for corneal ulcers are growths and parasites, for example:
- Acanthamoeba: These common parasites can enter the eye and cause spinal keratitis, which is a very serious eye infection that can lead to permanent scarring of the cornea and loss of vision. Acanthamoeba microorganisms are regularly found in faucet water, pools, hot tubs, and other water sources.
- Ocular herpes: Another cause of corneal ulcers is infection with the herpes simplex virus (ocular herpes), which can damage the outer surface and sometimes the deep layers of the surface of the eye.
- Other causes: Corneal ulcers can be caused by dry eyes, eye sensitivity, and general infection. Immune system disorders and inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis can also lead to corneal ulcers.
How is a corneal ulcer diagnosed?
An ophthalmologist can analyze corneal ulcers during an eye test.
One test used to check for a corneal ulcer is the fluorescein eye patch. For this test, an ophthalmologist applies a drop of orange dye to a thin piece of blotting paper. Next, the doctor transfers the dye to your eye by gently touching the blotting paper to the surface of your eye. Then the doctor uses a microscope called a slit lamp to shine a special purple light on your eye to look for any damaged areas of the cornea. Corneal damage will appear green when violet light shines on it.
If you have a corneal ulcer, your ophthalmologist will examine it to find the cause. To do this, the doctor may numb your eye with eye drops, then gently scrape the sore to obtain a sample for testing. The test will show whether the sore contains bacteria, fungi, or a virus.
Who is at risk for a corneal ulcer?
It includes people at risk of developing corneal ulcers:
- Contact lens wearers
- People who have had or have had a cold sore, chickenpox, or shingles
- People using steroid eye drops
- People who suffer from dry eyes
- People with eyelid disorders that prevent the proper functioning of the eyelid
- People who injure or burn the cornea
If you wear contact lenses, safe handling, storage, and cleaning of the lenses are essential steps to reduce the risk of developing a corneal ulcer. It is important to know how to care for your contact lenses.
Corneal ulcer treatment
Treatment for corneal ulcers should be aggressive, as some ulcers result in vision loss and blindness. Treatment usually includes antibiotics, as well as antiviral or antifungal medications. Steroid eye drops may likewise be given to decrease aggravation. Some doctors prescribe topical eye drops several times daily until the sore has completely healed. In severe cases, patients are hospitalized for the correct treatment.
Certain nutritional supplements, such as vitamin C, may be prescribed to reduce corneal scarring. If the ulcer does not heal naturally with the usual treatment, an amniotic membrane will be placed over the cornea for seven to 10 days. If the severe infection causes permanent scarring, a corneal transplant may be needed to restore vision. In such cases, blindness or total loss of the eye may occur if treatment is offered.
If your cornea suffers from permanent (permanent) scarring and damage, your vision may be affected in the long term. If not treated promptly, corneal ulcers can lead to permanent scarring. If your complications are severe, you may need more treatment. Possible treatments include:
- A special type of contact lens
- Laser eye surgery (phototherapy keratectomy)
- A new corneal transplant
Treating this disease immediately reduces the chances that you will need these types of treatments.
Not all types of corneal ulcers can be prevented. Wear safety glasses when performing any activity that may injure the eye. If you use contact lenses, make sure they fit tightly and that you care for them properly. If you have issues with your eyes, get clinical consideration at the earliest opportunity. Treating your other health conditions quickly may help prevent ulcers. It may also help to call your eye care provider at the first sign of infection.
If you wear contact lenses, taking care of them properly can help reduce the chances of developing a corneal infection:
- Try not to wear contact lenses for longer than suggested.
- Clean your contact lenses exactly as your eye care provider recommends.
- Never reuse a lens arrangement or utilize a custom made lens arrangement.
- Clean, rinse, and air dries the lens case every time you remove the lenses.
- Do not expose your contact lenses to any water.