The human eye comprises of the black cornea and the whitish sclera. The cornea is a vascular and translucent organ and light passes through the cornea into the retina, through the lens, which allows us to see different types of images. Cornea also plays the role of protective tissue, which protects the internal parts of the eye.
A corneal ulcer refers to an open sore or wound on the cornea, which covers the iris. The corneal tissue is translucent; however a long standing corneal ulcer may result in the replacement of this tissue by fibrous tissue, which may interfere with vision. This makes it imperative to treat a corneal ulcer at the earliest.
Causes Of Corneal Ulcer
Some of the leading causes associated with corneal ulcers include the following,
- Infection is considered to be the primary cause of corneal ulcer. Bacterial infection is the most common cause; however an individual may suffer from a viral infection caused by herpes simplex or varicella virus. Fungal infections are the rarest cause of corneal ulcer.
- Injury or trauma to the eye can also trigger the formation of corneal ulcers. Scratches caused due to metallic or glass particles can cause corneal ulcers.
- Disorders like dry eyes syndrome is often associated with occurrence of corneal ulcers. Dry eye disorder can leave the eye without germ fighting tears, which can cause ulcers.
- Disorders of the eyelids like Bell’s palsy or drooping eyelids can also make the corneal surface vulnerable to ulcers.
- Contact lenses are associated with high risk of corneal ulcer. Prolonged use of contact lens or inadequate hygiene can be important contributing factors. Prolonged use of steroid eye drops can also increase the chances of developing corneal ulcers.
Signs And Symptoms Of Corneal Ulcer
The important signs and symptoms associated with a corneal ulcer include the following,
- Redness and soreness of the eye.
- Painful sensation in the eye which is characterized by pricking or stinging.
- Increased lachrymation or tearing is another important indication.
- Occasionally corneal ulcers may get infected resulting in thick pus-like discharge from the eyes.
- Blurry vision with increased sensitivity to bright light.
- A whitish or greyish spot on the cornea which may be visible. The spot is often associated with swelling in the surrounding tissue.
Home Remedies To Treat Corneal Ulcer
Here are some home based tips and treatment options that would help you deal with corneal ulcers. However if the symptoms continue to persist or worsen, it is highly recommended that you consult your ophthalmologist immediately.
- Remove your contact lenses immediately. Don’t wear them for at least a week, till the ulcer heals completely. Lenses can aggravate corneal ulcers. Maintain utmost hygiene while using contact lenses in the future to avoid a recurrence.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes with your fingers. This increases the risk of transmitting bacterial or fungal infection to the eyes.
- Cold compress on the eyes is highly recommended. Cold compress slows down the inflammatory reaction and alleviates most of the symptoms.
- Homeopathic eye-drops containing Echinacea are very useful in the management of corneal ulcers. They help alleviate the symptoms of watering and burning pain the eye. Echinacea can also help control inflammation.
- Irrigate your eyes with cold water. Avoid splashing water on your eyes, as it can further aggravate the ulcer. Instead hold your head to the side of the tap; in such a way that water can pass from one corner of the eye to the other.