Corneal Ulcer

General Illness Information


Common Name:

Corneal Ulcer, Corneal abrasion.

Medical Term: Corneal ulcer, Corneal abrasion

Description: Ulceration or sore in the thin transparent layer of the colored part of the eye (cornea).

Causes: Dry eye, burns, abrasion, contact lenses, inappropriate use of topical anesthetics, antibiotics, or antiviral drops, immunosuppressant drugs, diabetes, immunodeficiency are the main predisposing factors. Infection by bacteria or viruses frequently follows.

Prevention:

Avoid corneal abrasion or injury and improper contact lens handling.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Eyelid and conjunctiva become inflamed;
  • Mucopurulent discharge;
  • Foreign body sensation;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Light sensitivity;
  • Pain.

Risk Factors

  • Any abrasive injury to the cornea;
  • Contact lenses (especially soft lenses);
  • Chronic topical steroid use.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnostic tests include an eye examination, sometimes a visual acuity test, a laboratory culture study of discharge and scrapings from the ulcer to identify the organism.

Treatment will involve removing any foreign body, patching of the eye, and medications for the eye.

General Measures:

Outpatient or inpatient for severe ulcer or noncompliant patient. All cases of corneal ulceration should be promptly referred to an ophthalmologist. Aggressive topical antibiotic treatment directed toward the causative agent should be instituted immediately while culture studies are pending. Bandaging the eye should be avoided and topical steroids should never be used.

Medications:

  • Antibiotic eye drops are the mainstay of treatment;
  • Sulfa drops are not effective, unless in very mild cases;
  • Gentamycin, Tobramycin, Ciloxan, Ofloxacin drops are used for bacterial infections;
  • Fungal and viral ulcerations are treated with the appropriate antimicrobial.

Activity:

As tolerated.

Diet:

No restrictions.

Possible Complications :

Scarring of the cornea and loss of vision, if untreated.

Prognosis

Excellent, with appropriate treatment.

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