Managing Corneal Ulcers


Managing Corneal Ulcers

if an ulcer doesn’t heal in 5-7 days after routine therapy, refer to an animal eye specialist. Time is of the essence.


Routine therapy for corneal ulcers will normally consist of a broad spectrum antibiotic and atropine. If the ulcer is not beginning to heal within 5 to 7 days, it is time to refer to a specialist.

There are several complicating factors depending on the type or severity of the ulcer, and more aggressive medical therapy, even surgical therapy, may need to be pursued.


Types of Corneal Ulcers:

  1. Secondary, anatomic
  2. Traumatic
  3. Bacterial
  4. Fungal
  5. Herpetic

Ranges in Severity of Corneal Ulcers:

  1. Superficial
  2. Mid-Stromal
  3. Deep
  4. Full-Thickness

Complicating Factors:

Brachiocephalic Breeds
(smooshed faces – i.e., Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pugs, etc.)
Eyelid Disease – Entropion, Distichia
Dry Eye (KCS)
Bacterial Infections
Viral (herpes) Infections
Iris Prolapse
Endothelial Dystrophy
Laceration/Foreign Body


Types of Therapy:

  1. Routine Medical Therapy – for superficial, non-complicated ulcers (either bacterial or traumatic)
  2. Aggressive Medical Therapy – for mid-stromal, deep, melting and/or bacterial ulcers
  3. Specific Medical Therapy – based on ulcer type
  4. Surgical Therapy – medically non-responsive, rapidly progressing ulcers; infected: deep, full thickness ulcers
  5. Specific Type Surgical Treatment – for indolent ulcers, sequestrum, corneal degeneration, and endothilial dystrophy



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