Corneal Ulcer: Causes and Treatment

Corneal ulcer is an open sore which appears as a white or gray spot in the cornea of the eye.

Just recently a friend related that she was on sick leave for two days due to corneal ulcer. I said that I was not familiar with this and she related that she has a white spot in the cornea of her right eye and that it became swollen. According to her doctor the reason for this was due to misuse or overuse of contact lenses. Although she is feeling better now, she is back to wearing eyeglasses and accordingly until she gets lasik treatment she will have to put up with her glasses for the rest of her life. My friend's health woe prompted me to learn more about this corneal ulcer, its prevention and treatment.

Corneal ulcer is an open sore which appears as a white or gray spot in the cornea of the eye. The cornea is the transparent structure overlying the iris. This ulcer is commonly caused by infection which may either be bacterial, viral or fungal. Bacterial infection commonly occurs to those who usually wear contact lenses. Viral infections also cause corneal ulcers. Common viruses that can cause viral infection include the herpes simplex virus and the Varicella virus. Fungal infections may also be the cause of corneal ulcer due to the improper care of contact lenses or even the excessive use of eye drops that contain steroids.

Another cause of corneal ulcer may be due to the tearing of the cornea. When this happens, the cornea will become more susceptible to infection. Other causes of corneal ulcer may be due to certain conditions such as Bell’s palsy which leaves the cornea to become dry and prone more prone to bacterial infection.

The symptoms of corneal ulcer include redness of the eye, pain in the eye area, blurry vision swollen eyelid and a white or gray spot on the cornea that can be seen with the naked eye if the ulcer is large. In my friend's case, she experienced swelling and a white spot on her right cornea.

Medications for corneal ulcer involve the use of antibiotic eye drops. Its use will depend on how large the infection is. If the infection is large, the ophthalmologist may prescribe one drop of the antibiotic per hour. Pain medications may also be prescribed to be taken orally in order to arrest the pain.

To avoid having corneal ulcers, it is advised that eye protection be worn when exposed to small particles that may enter the eyes and scratch the cornea. Use eye lubricants when you experience dry eyes to avoid infection. For those who wear contact lenses, take extra care in using and cleansing the contact lenses.

 

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Roberta Baxter
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Posted on Jul 11, 2011
Cynthia Roberts
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Posted on Jun 22, 2011