A corneal ulcer is a lesion that affects the transparent ocular surface and is the product of a localized infection of the cornea similar to an abscess.
The symptoms manifest with intense pain and general redness that is sometimes accompanied by ocular discharge and visual loss.
Causes of Corneal Ulcer
A corneal ulcer is often caused by a bacterial infection localized on the cornea: this infection can arise as a result of real trauma, but it can also be caused by other factors.
There are parasites, bacteria, viruses, but also eyelid anomalies that can expose a person more to the risk of corneal injury.
- Acanthamoeba is a parasite that lives in water and is capable of penetrating the eye, causing the keratitis that takes its name. It is an infection that can become serious and become particularly aggressive, causing permanent scarring as well as loss of vision.
- Fusarium is a fungus that especially affects contact lens wearers who usually use solutions for rinsing their lenses.
- Herpes Simplex Virus is an infection that damages the outer or deeper layers of the eye’s surface
- Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, or Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Entropion is an abnormal eyelid that involves an inward rotation of the eyelid margin
- Trichiasis, eyelashes directed towards the cornea, which is, therefore, more exposed to the risk of scratches
- Exophthalmos, protrusion of the eyeball beyond the eyelid opening
Furthermore, contact lens wearers are particularly at risk of contracting corneal infections: the infection in these cases can be induced by inadequate maintenance or by the habit of sleeping with lenses.
Hygiene rules combined with other precautions can significantly reduce this risk.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is made with the slit lamp: the lesion is immediately evident with the use of cobalt blue light after the instillation of fluorescein. It is also possible to perform a corneal swab to identify any pathogens.
Fungal keratitis is only identifiable by microscopic evaluation of dye-treated cultures.
It is possible to treat corneal ulcers using a broad-spectrum antibiotic in addition to eye drops to reduce inflammation also called reinforced as it contains several active ingredients higher than that normally on the market.
Eye checks in cases of corneal ulcers should be repeated every 1-3 days, depending on the severity of the lesion and medical assessments.