What Is a Corneal Ulcer?
A corneal ulcer (also known as keratitis) is an open sore on the cornea — the clear, dome covering of the eye. The ulcer is an open sore that typically stems from an infection on the eye and creates noticeable discomfort. If left untreated, these ulcers can cause permanent damage to the eye and potentially require surgery.
Symptoms of a Corneal Ulcer
Symptoms of corneal ulcers can include:
- Severe pain
- The feeling of something stuck on the eye
- Excessive tearing
- Pus and discharge
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Swollen eyelids
- White spot on the cornea
Corneal ulcers can cause permanent vision damage if left unaddressed. If you notice symptoms consistent with a corneal ulcer, it’s crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call 405.271.1095 or 800.787.9017 to make an appointment.
Causes of a Corneal Ulcer
Corneal ulcers have many different potential causes, with injuries to the eye being among the most common. This can result from an accidental scratch or cut to the eye that develops into an infection, which eventually causes a corneal ulcer. Those who wear contact lenses are especially susceptible to developing a corneal ulcer, as contacts can sometimes scratch the cornea or trap small pieces of dirt that can cause infections.
Dryness in the eye is an issue that could potentially result in corneal ulcers, as can Bell’s palsy.
Aside from bacterial infections from abrasions on the eye, fungal and parasitic infections can also lead to the development of corneal ulcers.
Corneal Ulcer Treatment Options
Corneal ulcer treatments can vary, but special prescription eye drops are very common. Medication can also be injected near the eye to heal the ulcer.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary. This is often in cases when the infection of the eye has been cleared up and the ulcer healed, but a scar remains on the cornea, affecting vision quality. This problem requires a corneal transplant surgery to replace the permanently damaged cornea.
Corneal transplant surgery may also be required for patients whose ulcers cannot be treated with medication.
Corneal Ulcer Treatment at Dean McGee Eye Institute
While corneal ulcers are a common eye issue, they should not be overlooked or ignored when symptoms first become noticeable. If you or a loved one is suffering from a corneal ulcer, it’s important that you seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening.