How is a corneal ulcer diagnosed?
Superficial corneal abrasions are usually not visible. They can be highlighted and seen with the use of fluorescein stain. A drop of this orange-colored stain is placed on the cornea. The dye will adhere to an area of ulceration and is easily visualized with a special black light called a Wood’s light. This is the most basic test performed and may be the only test needed if the ulcer is acute and very superficial. If the ulcerated area is chronic or very deep, samples are taken for culture and cell study prior to applying the stain or any other medication. Can an ulcer be treated? Yes. However, the form of treatment depends on whether there is a corneal abrasion, corneal ulcer, or descemetocele present. Corneal abrasions generally heal within 3-5 days. Medication is used to prevent bacterial infections (antibiotic ophthalmic drops or ointment) and to relieve pain (atropine ophthalmic drops or ointment). Antibiotic drops are only effective for a few minutes so they must be applied frequ