A corneal ulcer is an open wound on the cornea. Because a serious corneal ulcer can cause vision loss, early treatment is essential.
Most are the result of a bacterial infection, however viral and fungal infections can also lead to a corneal ulcer. If you wear contact lenses, you will be more prone to developing a corneal ulcer. This happens when one of your contact lenses rubs against the surface of your eye and damages the surface of the cornea, allowing bacteria to invade your eye. Other causes includes:
Symptoms of a corneal ulcer include:
An ophthalmologist will determine the most appropriate treatment for you. Early diagnosis of a corneal ulcer is essential, particularly if your eye has become infected, as this can lead to vision loss. The sooner you start treatment, the better the chance that you can avoid long-term eye health issues. The most typical treatment for a corneal ulcer involves regularly applying a topical antibiotic to your affected eye. If the ulceration is in the centre of your eye, it may take longer to recover. If you suffer from an eye injury as the result of coming into contact with a tree branch, dirt or other organic matter, you are at risk of developing fungal keratitis which can also lead to a corneal ulcer. Depending on the extent of the infection, you may be prescribed an anti-fungal agent. Only in the most severe cases will a corneal transplant be necessary.
A corneal ulcer is a serious matter and must be dealt with immediately. If you have any symptoms, see your GP or optometrist immediately – if necessary, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist for treatment.