Treatment for Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore on your cornea. In most cases it’s caused by an infection. The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer. It is a clear layer on the front of your eye. It helps protect your eye from dirt and germs. It also helps control how light enters your eye. Infection or injury of your cornea can cause an ulcer to form. Corneal ulcers can happen in people of any age. If not treated, a corneal ulcer can lead to loss of eyesight and even blindness.

Types of treatment

Treatment for a corneal ulcer varies depending on the cause. Types of treatment include:

  • Antibiotics, to treat a bacterial infection of the cornea

  • Antiviral medicine, to treat a viral infection

  • Antifungal medicine, to treat a fungal infection

  • Pain medicine

  • Steroid medicine

You may need to take some of these medicines in the form of eye drops. Your healthcare provider may give you instructions about protecting your eye as it heals. For example, you may need to wear special contact lenses for a while. Don't wear your normal contact lenses unless your healthcare provider says you can.

You may be treated for the cause of your ulcer. This will help to prevent new ulcers. You may be treated for dry eye, vitamin deficiency, or an autoimmune disease.

What happens if you don’t get treated?

If your cornea has damage and scarring, this can harm your eyesight. If not treated right away, a corneal ulcer can lead to severe loss of eyesight. Treating a corneal ulcer right away can reduce the risk of problems. If the damage to your cornea is severe, you may need other treatments such as:

  • A special type of contact lens

  • Eye surgery with a laser (phototherapeutic keratectomy)

  • A new cornea (corneal transplantation)

Preventing a corneal ulcer

Not all types of corneal ulcer can be prevented. Make sure you wear protective eyewear when doing any activity that might lead to eye injury. If you have a problem with your eyes, see your eye doctor right away. Treat health conditions that may lead to corneal ulcers.

If you wear contact lenses:

  • Make sure that they fit well.

  • Don't wear them for longer than told to.

  • Clean them exactly as directed.

  • Never reuse lens solution or use homemade lens solution.

  • Don't put your contact lenses in water.

  • Clean, rinse, and air-dry your lens case regularly.


When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Eye pain

  • Blurred vision

  • Fluid coming from your eye