Corneal Emergencies

Corneal Emergencies

Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion is a loss of superficial tissue from the front surface of the eye. This may result from a scratch or a scrape of the corneal surface. Typically, corneal abrasions are associated with light sensitivity, a sensation that there is something in the eye, as well as increased tearing.

Corneal abrasions may cause mild discomfort or severe pain, depending on the severity of the lesion. Treatment may include lubrication, eye patching, bandage contact lenses and/or preventative antibiotic ointment or drops. Since the cornea is the fastest healing tissue in the human body, most cornel abrasions will heal within 24-36 hours. Call our office for consultation if symptoms do not lessen beyond the first 36 hours.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is a serious ocular infection of the clear cap of the eye (cornea). It occurs when the natural defenses against infection of the eye are lost. Trauma, aging, tear film abnormalities, chronic infection or irritation, contact lens problems, alcohol abuse or immunosuppressive treatment set the stage for corneal ulcer.

Most ulcers are assumed to be bacterial in origin although viruses, fungi and acanthamoeba (parasites) also cause corneal ulceration. Laboratory studies may be required to determine the reason.

Symptoms include moderate to severe pain, redness, light sensitivity, mucus discharge and decreased vision.

Treatment is dependent on the severity of the infection and the cause. If the ulcer is sight threatening the patient may be hospitalized. Antibiotics (medication, ointments and/or pills) are used to reduce the infection. Dilating medication and oral pain medications (e.g., aspirin) improve comfort.

Careful daily monitoring is required until the ulcer resolves.

Comments are closed.