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What is the treatment for a corneal ulcer?
Treatment is aimed at eradicating the cause of the ulcer.
Anti-infective agents directed at the inciting microbial agent will be used in cases of corneal ulcer due to infection. Generally, these will be in the form of drops or ointments to be placed in the eye; but occasionally, especially in certain viral infections, oral medications will also be employed. Occasionally, steroids will be added, but should only be used after examination by an eye doctor or other physician using a slit lamp, because in some situations, steroids may hinder healing or aggravate the infection.
In cases aggravated by dryness or corneal exposure, tear substitutes will be used, possibly accompanied by patching or a bandage contact lens.
In corneal ulcers involving injury, the inciting agent must be removed from the eye (using copious irrigation for chemicals or by using a slit lamp microscope to remove particles such as wood or metal) and then adding medications to prevent infection and minimize scarring of the cornea.
If the corneal ulcer is due to an eyelash growing inward, the offending lash should be removed, together with its root. If it grows back in an abnormal manner, the root may have to be destroyed using a low-voltage electrical current. If the corneal ulcer is secondary to the eyelid turning inward, surgery directed at correctly repositioning the eyelid may be necessary.
Contact lenses should be discontinued in the affected eye of any case of corneal ulcer, regardless of whether the ulcer was initially caused by the contact lens.
If the ulcer cannot be controlled with medications, it may be necessary to surgically debride the ulcer. If the ulcer causes significant corneal thinning and threatens to perforate the cornea, a surgical procedure known as
a corneal transplant may be necessary.
Individuals with corneal ulcers due to immunological diseases may require patient-specific treatment with immunosuppressive drugs. Such
patients may require care coordinated with an ophthalmologist in conjunction with other doctors.
Anyone with an irritated eye that does not improve quickly after removing a contact lens or after mild irrigation should contact an ophthalmologist immediately.
Do not borrow someone's eyedrops.