Corneal Ulcer (cont.)
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is a corneal ulcer?
- What does a corneal ulcer look like?
- What are the causes of a corneal ulcer?
- What are corneal ulcer symptoms?
- What are corneal ulcer signs?
- How is a corneal ulcer diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a corneal ulcer?
- What is the healing time for a corneal ulcer?
- Can corneal ulcers be prevented?
- Corneal Ulcer At A Glance
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is the healing time for a corneal ulcer?
The time until healing, recovery of corneal clarity, and discontinuation of medications will vary depending on the cause of the ulcer and its size, location, and depth. Most appropriately treated corneal ulcers should improve within two to three weeks. Treatment may continue for longer to reduce the amount of potential scarring. Corneal ulceration is a serious condition, and with inadequate or no treatment, loss of vision and blindness may occur.
Can corneal ulcers be prevented?
Prevention of corneal ulceration is important. Individuals should wear eye protection when using power tools or when they may be exposed to small particles that can enter the eye (for example, particles from a grinding wheel). Try to avoid dangerous activities where people might be hit in the eye by a sharp object such as a stick or fingernail.
If individuals have dry eyes or if their eyelids do not close completely, they should use artificial teardrops to keep the eyes lubricated.
If an eye is red and irritated, do not continue to use over-the-counter eyedrops. Have an ophthalmologist examine the eyes to make certain that there is not a serious problem.
If a person wears contact lenses, they should be extremely careful about the way they clean and wear those lenses. Corneal ulcers secondary to contact lenses are preventable. Always wash hands before handling the lenses. Never use saliva to lubricate contact lenses because the mouth contains bacteria that can harm the cornea. Remove lenses from the eyes every evening and carefully clean them. Never use tap water to clean the lenses. Never sleep with contact lenses in the eyes. Store the lenses in disinfecting solutions overnight. Remove lenses whenever the eyes are irritated and leave them out until the eyes feel better. Regularly clean the contact lens case. Carefully read the instructions about contact lens care supplied by the lens maker.
- A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea.
- There are a wide variety of causes of corneal ulcers, including infection, physical and chemical trauma, corneal drying and exposure, and contact lens overwear and misuse.
- Corneal ulcers are a serious problem and may result in loss of vision or blindness.
- Most corneal ulcers are preventable.
- With appropriate and timely treatment, the majority of corneal ulcers will improve with minimal adverse effect on vision.
Foster, C. Stephen. "Corneal Ulcer Stained With Fluorescein." eMedicine.com. <http://img.medscape.com/pi/emed/ckb/emergency_medicine/756148-780913-783223-1789892.jpg>.
Murillo-Lopez, Fernando. "Ulcer, Corneal." Jan. 28, 2010. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1195680-overview>.
Poggio, E.C., R.J. Glynn, and O.D. Schein. "The Incidence of Ulcerative Keratitis Among Users of Daily-Wear and Extended-Wear Soft Contact Lenses." N Engl J Med 321.12 Sept. 21, 1989: 779-783.
Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2010 11:41:13 AM
Viewers share their comments
Get breaking medical news.