Corneal ulcers are essentially open wounds on the cornea. Ulcers are usually caused by infection, but can also be due to severe dry eye or improper contact lens wear. Those most at risk for developing an ulcer are contact lens wearers, those with a history of chickenpox or shingles, and people with dry eyes. It is important to wear protective safety glasses when working with materials that could lead to eye injury (i.e. gardening, welding), because foreign bodies can cause infection and lead to ulcers.
Ulcers are most easily identified by placing fluorescein (a yellow dye) into the eye. The dye sticks to the sore on the cornea and is easily visible under the light of a slitlamp. Often cultures are also taken to help determine the root cause of the ulcer. They are usually treated with antibiotics and steroid drops, which helps the cornea to heal and makes the eye more comfortable during the healing process.
The picture below shows a cornea with an ulcer. You can see the circular fog in the light, which is the open sore on the eye.
Symptoms of a corneal ulcer include:
- Foreign body sensation
- Tearing or discharge
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Swelling of the lids
If you experience any of these symptoms, call our office at (859) 278-9486 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jitander Dudee. You can also email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or send an appointment request through our online portal.