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Corneal Ulcer

Definition:

A corneal ulcer is an open wound on the cornea, the transparent structure in the front portion of the eye which is important structure for vision. A corneal ulcer will often appear as a gray to white area on the normally transparent cornea.

Causes:

  • These are most commonly due to infection, which may involve bacteria, viruses, fungi, or amoebas.
  • Non-infectious causes - all of which may be complicated by infection - include neurotrophic keratitis (resulting from loss of corneal sensation), exposure keratitis (due to inadequate eyelid closure), severe dry eyes, severe allergic eye disease, and various inflammatory disorders that may be purely ocular or part of a systemic vasculitis (inflammation).
  • It can also result from poor maintenance or over usage of contact lenses than the prescribed time.

Symptoms:

Common symptoms incudes,

  • Pain.
  • Increased tearing.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Glare, while looking at bright lights.

Treatment Options:

Prompt treatment is essential for all forms of corneal ulcer to prevent complications and permanent visual impairment. Usually, treatment consists of systemic and topical broad-spectrum antibiotics until culture results identify the causative organism. The goals of treatment are to eliminate the underlying cause of the ulcer and to relieve pain.

Diagnosis:

The presence of a corneal ulcer can be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist through an eye examination. The ophthalmologist will be able to detect an ulcer by using a special eye microscope known as a slit lamp. To make the ulcer easier to see, the medical caregiver will put a drop containing the dye fluorescein into the eye. If there is an infection which is responsible for the ulcer, then samples of the ulcer may be sent to the laboratory for identification of bacteria, fungi, or viruses.

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