What is bacterial keratitis (corneal ulcer)?

Corneal infection. The cornea is the clear window in the front of your eye. Your tears and the surface cells of the cornea, or epithelium, normally protect the cornea from infection. When these protective layers are compromised, bacteria can enter the stroma, or core layer of the cornea, and cause vision-threatening infection. Commonest cause: misuse of soft contact lenses (poor care hygiene, overwear).
Surface defect. A corneal ulcer is a loss of the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) usually with an underlying infection. There are "sterile" ulcers in which an infection is not present.
Infection. Bacterial keratitis is a corneal infection caused by bacteria. These are usually related to contact lenses or trauma or immuno supression. There infections are very serious as they can progress rapidly, cause central scarring and vision loss, and lead to corneal perforation requiring emergency surgery for a ruptured globe. Corneal cultures and fortified antibiotics may be needed.
Abcess in clear area. The cornea is usually clear and when you get a bacterial infection there, the area becomes cloudy due to white blood cells migrating in to attack the bacteria and clean up the mess.
An infection. This is an infection that occurs on the surface of the cornea. It is usually treated with antibiotics. If severe this can lead to scarring and reduced vision.

Related Questions

Does having keratitis once make you more likely to get it again? I had a really bad case of keratitis, with corneal ulcers. Do I need to be extra careful with my eyes to be sure I don't get it again? .

To . To short answer is a definite "yes." as has been pointed out above, "keratitis" is a rare condition when one looks at the entire population. There are many forms and many causes. A there is typically a "trigger" that can be identified by your eye care professional. Sometimes this trigger may be present forever making recurrence likely (herpes simplex infection / rosacea keratitis). Sometimes the trigger may be easy to control and stop (contact lens wear). Therefore, if it is a factor caused about by your activity (ie contact lens wear), experience tells me you are likely to get it again if you continue with contact lens use. If a patient experiences cornea scaring and vision loss due to contact lens use, i typically recommend an alternative vision correction method. Another episode of infection or inflammation is very likely to lead to more vision loss - in general we should do everything to control preventable forms of vision loss. Read more...
It . It is very unusual for a person to have keratitis. There is usually a 'cause' such as use of contact lenses, exposure to dirty/dusty environment, swimming in a dirty water, etc... Assess what might have caused your keratitis and avoid it. Most common cause tend to be the use of contact lenses, please never sleep with them, clean them well regularly, and minimize its use. Read more...

What can I do about a corneal ulcer?

Ulcer. You will need at least one potent antibiotic eyedrop to treat this. Stop wearing your contacts until this heals. See your eye doctor daily until better. Read more...
Very serious! Corneal ulcers are very serious and can cause devastating loss of vision! it must be treated aggressively and seriously. Fortunately most do well, but mistakes are unforgiving! see an ophthalmologist and follow the directions biblically! Read more...

Can I wear contacts after having a corneal ulcer?

Cause of ulcer? Yes, but, if corneal ulcer was caused by wearing contact lenses, then extreme caution and supervision by your eye md is essential so as to avoid future problems. Some individuals may never be able to comfortably wear contact lenses and complications can result if they are continued. The advise of your eye md is necessary. Good luck. Read more...
Yes, BUT. Only with the say-so of your cornea specialist. This is a very complicated issue and one that you should not pursue without sound advice of your particular situation. Read more...

Is an indolent corneal ulcer associated with corneal scarring?

Yes. Hopefully you are under the care of an ophthalmologist for this problem. Scar formation is one of several serious consequences of having a corneal ulcer. Read more...

Is it possible to permanently lose my vision from a corneal ulcer?

Absolutely. Especially if it is the central cornea and/or if it is not adequately treated in time with medications. Sometimes the damage is extensive and requires a corneal transplant. Read more...
Yes, but rare. If the organism causing the corneal ulcer is an aggressive bacteria, fungus, or protozoa, permanent corneal scarring can result. Even corneal perforation can take place with loss of an eye. These are serious infections and require ophthalmologic care. Read more...

What causes an corneal ulcer for a contact wearer and are there other options besides seeing a doctor? I'm just using vigamox to reduce the redness.

Ulcer. corneal ulcers can be sight threatening. It should not be self treated. Typically in a contact lens wearer, the lack of oxygenation of the cornea mixed with bacteria living on an overused contact spell trouble. Vigamox is a good antibiotic which can aid in ulcer reduction in some ulcers. However some types of pathogens are not responsive to Vigamox. . Read more...