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Eye Ulcers

Eye Ulcers are more commonly known as corneal ulcers. An eye ulcer occurs when there is an open sore on a person’s cornea, the clear part covering the front of a person’s eye.
Common Causes:

  • Eye infection – the most common cause of a corneal ulcer.
  • Virus Infection – can also cause an eye ulcer.
  • Fungal Infection
  • Tears located in the Cornea
  • Conditions Causing Dry Eyes
  • Chemical Burns – also known to cause eye ulcers.
  • Bells’ Palsy – condition having a side effect which causes a person’s eyelid to not close right. As a result the cornea could become dry and lead to eye ulcers.

Contact lenses commonly cause problems for wearers because bacterial infections occur which can cause eye ulcers. The ones at a higher risk of developing eye ulcers are contact lenses wearers using an extended-wear type of contacts. If a wearer isn’t careful, the cornea can be hurt by a contact lens in numerous ways. A person who normally wears contact lenses would need to wear eyeglasses until all signs of an eye ulcer are gone.
Contact Lens and Cornea – Common Problems:

  • Very small bits of dust and dirt get underneath the contact lens and can scratch the cornea.
  • The cornea can become irritated if any scratch on the contact lens occurs. A scratched cornea is more susceptible to bacteria infection.
  • Oxygen flow to the eye can be decreased for people who wear their contact lenses for an extended amount of time. This causes a person’s eye(s) to be more susceptible to getting an infection in the eye(s) and an eye ulcer could form.

If an infected eye has been wearing a contact lens, it should be thrown out so the infection does not reoccur.
Eye ulcer symptoms are very uncomfortable and quite painful.

  • The person will feel there is something in their eye that cannot be removed.
  • Eye Burns
  • Eye Itches
  • Eye Redness
  • Eyelids Swollen
  • Bright Light Causes Unusual Pain
  • Blurred Vision
  • Draining Thick Discharge

At some point the eyelid may become so swollen the person has difficulty opening it. People wearing eyeglasses could have trouble seeing clearly through them.
A person may first want to treat an eye ulcer at home.

  • At the first sign of an eye ulcer, the contact lenses need to be removed from the eyes. Cold compresses can be applied directly to the eye.
  • The eye or the ulcer should not be touched or rubbed; the person should wash their hands often.
  • To help dull the pain the inflicted person may find relief from a pain reliever such as, acetaminophen and to help reduce any swelling, ibuprofen.

When to Seek Medical Treatment:

  • If the condition does not go away after a day or gets worse.
  • If any change in vision occurs.
  • If a discharge from the eye occurs.
  • If the person has a history of cornea scratches.
  • If the person’s eyes has been exposed to chemicals.

The eye doctor will use an instrument called a slit lamp to examine the eye to determine if an eye ulcer is the problem. The eye doctor may take some samples if they thinks an infection is present and causing the problem. Treatment usually consists of antibiotic eye drops being prescribed. It may be necessary for the eye doctor to prescribe eye drops to keep the pupils dilated if severe pain is present. Most treatment of eye ulcers is successful with a corneal transplant occurring only if all other treatment fails.

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