Infected Corneal Ulcer
an infected open sore on the cornea
What is it?
An infected corneal ulceration (infected wound of the clear, front part of the eye) poses a special problem because bacteria that are present are actually digesting the corneal tissues. This can lead to corneal perforation (full thickness whole) and cause blindness if not treated promptly.
What are the symptoms?
An infected corneal ulcer is usually painful, so your pet may display increased blinking and tearing. There may also be a purulent discharge.
Who is susceptible?
Dogs and cats of any breed or age can get infected corneal ulcers.
How is it diagnosed?
Fluorescein dye stains the outline of the ulcer and confirms the diagnosis. Culture and sensitivity testing may identify the causative bacteria or fungus.
How is it treated?
Intensive antibiotic treatment is prescribed for the first few days following diagnosis of an infected corneal ulcer. The frequency of treatment (instillation of antibiotic eye drops) is only reduced after the infection is stabilized.
If an infected corneal ulcer is not too deep and responds well to medical therapy, surgery may be avoided. Depending on a variety of factors, your pet may need a surgically placed biodegradable graft, conjunctival graft or corneal glue to provide protection and support for the cornea as it heals. The prognosis for infected ulcers varies depending on the condition of the cornea and anterior (front) chamber of the eye at the time of presentation.
It is very important that the medications are given as directed to minimize the corneal injury from the infection and to decrease the amount of pain experienced with such ulcers.