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Corneal Ulcer (cont.)

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What are risk factors for corneal ulcers?

Risk factors for the development of corneal ulcer include having had a prior corneal ulcer, failing to wear eye protection when using power tools or during welding, having extremely dry eyes, misusing contact lenses, failing to treat a red eye (conjunctivitis), exposure to UV light (for example, snow blindness), abnormalities of the eyelids or lashes, and suppression of the immune system.

What are corneal ulcer symptoms?

A corneal ulcer may cause pain, a feeling of a foreign body in the eye; tearing and pus or thick discharge draining from the eye may occur. If the ulcer is more centrally located in the cornea, vision might be blurry. There may be an increase in pain when the person looks at bright lights (photophobia).

What are corneal ulcer signs?

An ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases) may notice signs of inflammation (redness) in the conjunctiva of the eye and in the anterior chamber of the eye. The redness is due to dilation of the conjunctival blood vessels. The eyelids may be swollen, and a white or gray round spot on the cornea could be visible with the naked eye if the ulcer is large. Not all gray spots are ulcers. The ulcer may be central in the cornea or marginal, at the outer edge of the cornea. There may be swelling (edema) of the cornea around the ulcer. There may be scarring from prior corneal ulcers. There may be a single (or multiple ulcers) in the eye, and ulcers may be present in one or both eyes. Some more severe corneal ulcers are associated with iritis, which is an inflammatory response within the anterior chamber. If there is severe iritis, layering of inflammatory cells in the lower part of the anterior chamber (hypopyon) may occur. In rare cases, the cornea may thin with ballooning out of the inner layers of the cornea.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/14/2017


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