Corneal Ulcer: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2021

A corneal ulcer is an open sore or defect in the cornea of the eye. The cornea is the clear layer in front of the eye.

A corneal ulcer often appears as a gray to white opaque or translucent area on the cornea. Some corneal ulcers may be too small to see without magnification. Signs and symptoms of a corneal ulcer include

Other associated symptoms and signs can include watery eyes or eye pain. Corneal ulcers can become a serious problem that can lead to blindness and should be immediately treated.

Causes of a corneal ulcer

Corneal ulcers have a variety of causes, including infection, physical and chemical irritation or trauma, corneal drying and exposure to the elements, and contact lens misuse.

Other corneal ulcer symptoms and signs

  • Blurred Vision
  • Eye Pain
  • Feeling of Something in the Eye
  • Gray to White Opaque or Translucent Area on the Cornea
  • Redness of the Eye
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Vision Loss
  • Watery Eyes


What causes dry eyes? See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.