Corneal Abrasion and Ulcer

The cornea is a clear, curved tissue that covers the anterior part of the eye. Through it you can see the iris and pupil behind it. Abrasions and ulcers on the cornea (keratitis) are common. They can affect patients of all ages, and are sometimes associated with corneal foreign bodies, eye trauma, scratches, dry eyes, etc. Symptoms may vary. Minor abrasions usually settle within 24 hours, while more severe abrasions or ulcers can take several days to heal. If you think that you have a corneal abrasion or corneal foreign body it is important to go to an eye clinic immediately, as the cornea can get infected and cause further complications.

Small corneal abrasions are usually treated with antibiotic ointment, eye lubricants and an eye pad. They usually heal the same day.

Larger or extensive corneal abrasions are more painful and the risk of infection is higher. Treatment is with antibiotics (usually ointment) and eye lubricants, with an eye pad. Even extensive corneal abrasions usually heal within a few days.If the cornea becomes cloudy after an ulcer (corneal scar or leucoma), further treatment from a corneal specialist may be necessary to improve vision.

Soft contact lens wearers who develop a corneal ulcer should seek urgent ophthalmological examination as they are prone to more serious infections which, if left untreated, can lead to loss of vision.

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