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Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is a painful open sore on the transparent front part of the eye, or cornea. If it is left untreated, it can lead to vision loss.

The pain and other symptoms of a corneal ulcer can leave a patient debilitated. Signs and symptoms include eyes that are red, swollen and drain pus, and a feeling that something is in the eye with severe pain that worsens when the person looks at a bright light. If the ulcer is large, they will notice a white spot on their cornea. The cornea does not receive a blood supply, so the ulcer will not be red like ulcers found in other places on the body.

Contact lens wearers who suspect they have a corneal ulcer should take out their contact lenses at once, and place a cool compress over their affected eye. They must not rub their eye. If they cannot stand the pain, they should take an over-the-counter pain medication. Then, they should call the eye specialists at Campus Eye Group right away to treat their corneal ulcer in New Jersey.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers

Bacterial infections are the reason for most corneal ulcers. Because of this, contact lens wearers are at highest risk for these types of ulcers, especially if they do not practice the proper hygiene. People who use contact lenses should not keep them in overnight, even if they are supposed to be extended use. There is too high a chance of the contact lenses trapping dirt and bacteria. Also, the cornea receives oxygen through the tears in the eye, and an extended use contact lens interrupts the flow of oxygen and puts the cornea more at risk for infection.

Corneal ulcers can also be the result of infections from the viruses that cause shingles, chickenpox and cold sores. Infection from fungi are less common but does occur. Other causes of corneal ulcers are injuries such as scratches and chemical burns.


Our highly-skilled ophthalmologists at Campus Eye Group can quickly diagnose a corneal ulcer by using a type of microscope called a slit lamp. We will prescribe antibiotics if needed, usually in the form of eye drops and medication taken by mouth to ease the pain.

If the ulcer is not treated in a timely manner, it might actually perforate the patient’s cornea.  At this point, treatment will require a corneal transplant.

If you suspect you may have a corneal ulcer, call us today to schedule an appointment to be seen by one of our experts so that you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment.