A corneal ulcer is an infection of the cornea, the clear, “windshield-like” tissue on the surface of the eye. The severity can range from mild to severe, often depending on the pathogen involved. Risk factors for corneal ulcers include:
- Contact lens use
- Eye trauma
- Previous eye surgery
- Underlying corneal problems
- Poor eyelid closure
While mild corneal ulcers can often be treated with topical antibiotics, more severe ulcerations need to be cultured in a lab to determine the exact pathogen and treated with specially made fortified antibiotics. Corneal ulcers can leave permanent, visually significant scars on the cornea and should be evaluated urgently by an ophthalmologist.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye Syndrome is usually caused by an inadequate quantity and/or quality of the tear film which coats the surface of the eye. Contrary to what may seem logical, one of the most frequent symptoms of dry eye is excessive tearing. While ample tears are produced, the tear film lacks sufficient oils and does not stick to the surface of the eye.
Other symptoms of dry eye syndrome may include:
- Foreign body (gritty/sandy) sensation in the eyes
- Mild redness to the ocular surface
- Intolerance to contact lenses
- Mild blurry or fluctuating vision
- Stinging and burning sensation
Your ophthalmologist will help determine the cause of dry eye and can prescribe adequate treatment.
Common treatments for dry eyes include:
- Artificial tears (without preservative)
- Artificial tear Gel or Ointment
- Punctal Plugs
- Prescription Eyedrops-
Punctal plugs are small, cork-like, silicone pegs that can be inserted into the tear draining site on the eyelid margin to help treat dry eye syndrome when medical therapy is not sufficient. The punctal plug prevents draining of tears from the eye surface, resulting in improved hydration of cornea. The plug can be temporary, permanent, or dissolvable based on the needs of the patient. Punctal plugs can be inserted in several minutes in an in-office setting with no pre- or post-procedural restraints.
Pterygium and Pingueculum:
A pterygium is a scar-like tissue growth that develops on the thin membrane that covers the front of the eye (the conjunctiva) and grows onto the surface of the cornea (usually at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions). Small pterygium can cause mild symptoms of eye dryness and a feeling that there is a foreign body in the eye. If the pterygium grows large enough to cover the visual axis of the cornea, vision can be affected.
In contrast to a pterygia, pinguecula do not spread onto the corneal surface. Pinguecula appear as yellowish tissue deposits on the membrane of the eye, near the three and nine o’clock margins of the cornea. Similar to pterygia, pinguecula can cause dry eye symptoms and foreign body sensation.
Both conditions are due to ultraviolet exposure (sun) and are associated with prolonged exposure to harsh environments (wind, salt water). The mainstay of treatment includes lubrication with artificial tears, gels or ointments. If symptoms are recurrent, poorly controlled or interfere with vision, the growth can be surgically removed. Prevention of these conditions is linked to the use of UV-blocking sunglasses.