Corneal Ulcers: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What Are Corneal Ulcers?

Corneal ulcers, also known as ulcerative keratitis or eyesores, are open sores on the cornea, the transparent central part of the eye. They result from infections, trauma, or other underlying conditions, and are particularly common in tropical regions and areas with high vitamin A deficiency.

Types of Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers can be classified based on their depth and cause:

  1. Superficial Ulcers: Affect only the outer layer (epithelium) of the cornea.
  2. Deep Ulcers: Extend into the stroma, potentially causing scarring and permanent vision damage.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers can be caused by various microorganisms, each presenting distinct characteristics:

  1. Bacterial Keratitis: Caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus viridans, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas.
  2. Fungal Keratitis: Caused by fungi like Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Candida. These ulcers progress slowly but can lead to severe complications if untreated.
  3. Viral Keratitis: Often caused by viruses such as Herpes simplex and Herpes zoster. These can cause recurrent ulcers.
  4. Acanthamoeba Keratitis: A protozoal infection, particularly common among contact lens users and swimmers, causing severe pain.
  5. Chlamydia Trachomatis: A bacterial infection that can also contribute to corneal ulcers.

Location of Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers can appear in various parts of the cornea:

  • Central Ulcers: Typically caused by trauma, dry eye, or facial nerve paralysis.
  • Peripheral Ulcers: Often due to entropion, severe dry eye, or trichiasis.
  • Border Ulcers: Linked to immune-mediated diseases like rheumatoid


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