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Once we confirm a diagnosis and cause of a corneal ulcer, you begin treatment as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize corneal scarring that may result from the underlying condition.
At Stanford, we offer the latest treatments for healing the corneal ulcer, treating the cause and relieving your symptoms. Depending on whether your corneal ulcer is caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses or a parasite (acanthamoeba), we may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Antibiotic eye drops that kill bacteria, until we confirm the exact cause through cultures
Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral or antimicrobial eye drops depending on the cause of your corneal ulcer (bacteria, fungi, herpes simplex or other viruses or acanthamoeba)
Oral antiviral medication for herpes simplex
Pain medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
Corneal transplant (either partial or full) for severe ulcers involving holes in the cornea or for patients who don't respond to other treatment
Corneal Ulcer Treatment: What to Expect
For certain conditions, we may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops to reduce swelling and inflammation in the eye. The use of these drops is controversial, so they should be used only under your physician's supervision.
While you are undergoing treatment for your corneal ulcer, your physician may recommend that you:
Avoid wearing eye makeup
Avoid wearing contact lenses
A corneal ulcer is serious and can cause long-term damage and vision loss. If left untreated, it can lead to:
Scars on the cornea
Severe vision loss and even blindness
Loss of the eye (rare)
But, most people successfully recover with treatment to heal the infection.