Causes of Corneal Ulcer
Infections of the eye, small tears on the cornea, chemical burns, extended use of contact lenses or ocular herpes can cause a corneal ulcer.
Corneal ulcers are caused due to-
- Bacterial infection- Bacteria are a common cause of corneal ulcers especially in people using contact lenses.
- Viral infection- Viral infections like herpes (ocular herpes) can cause a non-healing corneal ulcer. Varicella virus (chicken pox) can also cause corneal ulcers.
- Fungal infection- Fungal infection due to overuse of steroidal eye drops can cause corneal ulcers.
- Chemical burns- Sometimes, acid or caustic substance thrown on the face can also damage the cornea by causing a chemical burn and ulcer. This can lead to infection and further damages the thin membrane of the cornea.
- Extended use of contact lenses- With the use of extended wear disposable contact lenses, corneal ulcers have become more and more common.
- Corneal tears due to trauma- Tiny corneal tears may also cause corneal ulcers. These tears can come from direct trauma, scratches, or particles such as sand, glass, or small pieces of steel. Such injuries damage the cornea and make it easier for bacteria to invade and cause a more serious ulcer.
- Dryness of the eye- Disorders that cause dry eyes can leave your eye without the germ-fighting protection of tears and cause ulcers. Disorders that affect the eyelids and prevent the eyes from closing completely, such as a nerve paralysis called Bell’s palsy, can dry the cornea and make it more vulnerable to ulcers.
- Sexually transmitted diseases- Sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis can affect the cornea resulting in ulcers.