About Corneal Ulcer

Corneal ulcers are a type of inflammation of the cornea. They are typically caused by infection, but can also be caused by injury. With immediate treatment, most ulcers can be treated without vision loss. But if the infection is left untreated or is too severe, ulcers can permanently harm your eyes.


  • Eye injury
  • Dirty contact lenses
  • Viruses
  • Dirty water
Eye injury
Dirty contact lenses
Dirty water

Risk Factors:

  • Reduced immunity
  • Warm climate
  • Corticosteroid eye drops
  • Eye injury
  • Contact lenses

To reduce the risk of corneal ulcers:

  • Do not wear contact lenses while swimming or for longer than recommended
  • Always clean lenses properly with the correct solution
  • Avoid bathing in rivers or dirty water

The symptoms of the corneal ulcer are:

  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • More tears than normal
  • Difficulty opening your eyelid
  • More sensitive to light
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Blurry vision
Picture Courtesy: AAO

Treatment for corneal ulcers depends on the cause of the infection. Antibacterial and antifungal eye drops may treat diseases caused by bacteria or fungi. Antiviral eye drops can be used for ulcers caused by viruses. However, these are not a “cure” and the virus may return.

If your ulcer does not respond to medicine, your doctor may suggest a corneal transplantation

When will the pain from my ulcer start to decrease?

Once the medication starts healing the ulcer, the pain will start decreasing. Painkiller tablets may also temporarily reduce the pain.

Will I get my vision back?

After the ulcer heals, you may require glasses or surgery to get better vision.

When will the ulcer heal and how long will I have to apply the medicines?

This depends on the size of the ulcer. Larger ulcers take longer to heal. The cause of the ulcer is also important. Fungal ulcers take longer to heal. For the fastest recovery, keep your diabetes under control and apply the eye drops as advised.

When should I come back for a checkup?

Whenever your doctor advises.

When can I take a head bath?

You may take a head bath when the ulcer is completely healed. Your doctor will tell you when it is okay.

Can any surgery be done and if so, will it give me full vision?

Surgery is only used as a last resort. Once the ulcer heals, a surgery may be possible to improve vision. Also, if your ulcer does not heal with medicines, you might have to get a corneal transplantation.