The Dangers of a Corneal Ulcer: What You Need To Know

Mon Jun 21 2021

Conditions that affect your eyes and cause great discomfort should not be taken lightly as they will eventually have bad effects on your vision. Many infections can affect your eyes, caused by the entry of infectious bacteria, fungi and viruses.

These infections affect different parts of your eyes, but cornea is the most commonly affected part as it is present right in the front of the eyes. Corneal ulcer is common and affects the cornea. It can be fatal if not treated on time.

What is a Corneal Ulcer?

When infection affects the cornea (a thin transparent layer of tissue seen as black part of eye), it may lead to corneal ulcer. Corneal ulcer is an open sore caused by a number of reasons. Besides infection, the other reasons for corneal ulcers are trauma to the cornea, overwear or misuse of contact lenses and dry eyes.

Corneal ulcers are preventable; but, they should be taken seriously as they may cause permanent loss of vision if not treated on time. In fact, the presence of corneal ulcers can be detected when the cornea starts looking milky or opaque instead of clear and transparent.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers

There are a variety of causes that lead to the development of corneal ulcers. The primary cause for the development of a corneal ulcer remains to be infections to the cornea. These infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses.

  • Corneal ulcers due to bacterial infections are common in people who wear contact lenses. This can cause ulceration of the cornea and may eventually lead to blindness.

  • Corneal ulcers due to viral infections are usually caused due to the herpes simplex virus. It causes sores in the eyes to flare up and is triggered by the weakened immune system.

  • Corneal ulcers due to fungal infections occur as a result of injury to cornea by vegetative matter. 

Other causes for corneal ulcers are trauma to the eyes, dry eyes, vitamin A deficiency, a weak immune system and inflammatory disorders.

Symptoms of Corneal Ulcers

The symptoms of corneal ulcers should always be taken seriously, and you should consult your doctor immediately because if they remain undetected, you fall at the risk of blindness.
Before you experience symptoms of corneal ulcer, you will come across signs of an infection that include irritation, redness, watery eyes, etc.

Corneal ulcer symptoms include -

  1. Watering

  2. Painful swollen eye

  3. Red and puffy eye

  4. The cornea appears white or opaque

  5. Blurry vision

  6. Pus discharge from the eye

  7. Increased sensitivity to light

If you come across any of these symptoms that make you suspect you have a corneal ulcer, visit your doctor immediately to avoid further complications.

Stages of Corneal Ulcers

There are four corneal ulcer stages: 

1. Progressive Infiltration -

This stage is characterised by the infiltration of lymphocytes into the epithelium of the tissue. This may progress into necrosis formation.

2. Active Ulceration -

Ulceration of the tissue results from necrosis.

3. Regression -

In this stage, a line of demarcation is formed between the ulcer and the normal tissue. This stage is induced by host defence and treatment. Healing starts in this stage.

4. Cicatrization -

In this stage, healing continues, and epithelisation is more rapid. Tissue starts getting back to normal.

Treatment of Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcer treatment depends on the type of infection that causes it. Your doctor will prescribe suitable medications to heal the infection.

Corneal transplant surgery is another option for treatment if medications don’t work. It involves the removal of corneal tissue and replacing it with new donor tissue. Before deciding to go for a corneal transplant, make sure you talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits. After surgery, your doctor will advise you for a regular follow-up, and you should look out for potential risks like irritation, redness and pus discharge from the eyes.

Early detection and treatment of corneal ulcers help to avoid further risk of blindness.

Why Choose Centre for Sight?

Centre for Sight is the largest chain of eye care hospitals and clinics in the country that specialises in corneal ulcer treatment. Along with the diagnosis of corneal ulcer, it is also important to diagnose the cause and root of the infection. The team at CFS helps you with a thorough diagnosis of your condition and guides you throughout the procedures.

Article: The Dangers of a Corneal Ulcer: What You Need To Know

Author: CFS Editorial Team   |   Jun 21 2021 | UPDATED 02:10 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.


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