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Eye Health Center

Corneal Ulcer

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Surgery

If the ulcer cannot be controlled with medications or if it threatens to perforate the cornea, you may require an emergency surgical procedure known as corneal transplant.

Next Steps - Follow-up

If you do not need hospitalization, your ophthalmologist will prescribe eyedrops and pain medications for you to take regularly at home. You will need to follow up with your ophthalmologist daily until your ophthalmologist tells you differently.

You should contact your ophthalmologist immediately if you experience symptoms, such as worsening vision, pain, or discharge.

Prevention

Seek medical attention from your ophthalmologist immediately for any eye symptoms. Even seemingly minor injuries to your cornea can lead to an ulcer and have devastating consequences.

 

  • Wear eye protection when exposed to small particles that can enter your eye.
  • If you have dry eyes or if your eyelids do not close completely, use artificial teardrops to keep your eyes lubricated.
  • If you wear contact lenses, be extremely careful about the way you clean and wear your lenses.
    • Always wash your hands before handling the lenses. Never use saliva to lubricate your lenses because your mouth contains bacteria that can harm your cornea.
    • Remove your lenses from your eyes every evening and carefully clean them. Never use tap water to clean the lenses.
    • Never sleep with your contact lenses in your eyes.
    • Store the lenses in disinfecting solutions overnight.
    • Remove your lenses whenever your eyes are irritated and leave them out until your eyes feel better.
    • Regularly clean your contact lens case.

Outlook

A corneal ulcer is a true emergency. Without treatment, the ulcer can spread to the rest of your eyeball, and you can become partially or completely blind in a very short period of time. Your cornea may also perforate, or you could develop scarring, cataracts, or glaucoma.

  • With the proper treatment, corneal ulcers should improve within 2-3 weeks.
  • If scars from previous corneal ulcers impair vision, a corneal transplant may be needed to restore normal vision.

For More Information

American Academy of Ophthalmology
655 Beach Street
Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120
(415) 561-8500

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