Corneal Ulcers (Keratitis)

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Last Medical Review: March 26, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
What Is a Corneal Ulcer? (March 26, 2020)
site2 (March 26, 2020)

What are corneal ulcers?

These are lesions of the cornea caused by infections by bacteria or viruses (in particular the herpes simplex virus, responsible for the ” fever ” of the lip) as a consequence of a trauma or injury to the cornea by a body stranger. They can also be due to contact lenses, especially soft ones.

How they manifest

The main symptoms, which can also be mild, are: pain, eye discomfort, watery eyes, blurred vision, redness of the white part of the eye and sensitivity to intense light. The lesion initially manifests itself as an opaque, grayish and circumscribed superficial infiltration, subsequently undergoes necrosis and suppuration; it can extend up to the whole corneal surface or it can penetrate deeply.

What are the risks

The deeper the ulcer, the more severe the symptoms and complications. The ulcers deep enough to involve the corneal substance can evolve towards the formation of fibrous tissue, with consequent opaque scarring of the cornea and decrease of the visus. Numerous other complications can aggravate the risks of corneal ulcer, which can lead to blindness.

What should be done

Corneal ulcers should be treated by the ophthalmologist and it is very important to follow their advice:

  • Applying cold or lukewarm compresses to the eyes can help you feel better. Use only sterile gauze or clean tissues. The compress can be repeated several times a day.
  • A simple hygienic rule to follow is to wash your hands very often, drying them in clean towels, and not to touch your eyes with your fingers.
  • Leave the eyes to rest as much as possible, until healing. Do not read or watch television for long periods of time. Bring dark glasses to protect your eyes from the glaring light.

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