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Corneal Ulcer

Intro

See your doctor if you experience the following signs or symptoms:

  • A change in vision
  • Severe pain
  • Feeling that there is something in your eye
  • Obvious discharge draining from your eye
If you have a history of scratches to the eye or exposure to chemicals or flying particles
Self-Care at Home

If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately.

  • Apply cool compresses to the affected eye.
  • Do not touch or rub your eye with your fingers.
  • Limit spread of infection by washing your hands often and drying them with a clean towel.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications , such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
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, discharge, or fever.

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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, including blindness or loss of the eye.
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 irritanted 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 two to three weeks.
If scars from previous corneal ulcers impair vision, a corneal transplant may be needed to restore normal vision.

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