Saturday, December 19, 2009

What is Corneal Ulcer

Although this is the season to be jolly, I have not had a jolly time so far because of encounters with ill health. Well, I told you about the dental care issue and now we've encountered an eye problem. Yeah, from teeth to eyes. This time it's a problem from contact lenses. I guess we should all pay attention to our health and wellness and make that our focus for a jolly happy holiday season.

Contact lens is a corrective, cosmetic, or therapeutic lens usually placed on the cornea of the eye. They are used in place of eye glasses for corrective purpose. Some contact lenses are used for cosmetic purposes and are deliberately colored to alter the appearance of the eye. Some lenses now have a thin surface treatment which is a UV coating.

I spent Friday morning, from the wee hours to mid day, in the ER with a kid with severe eye pain. This was very weird because it's not a whole lot you can do to get relief. Besides taking pain killers, what do you do? Hot compress, cold compress, eye wash? what?! I will tell you that it was quite an experience seeing and hearing the cry and moan of pain in the eye and I didn't know what was going on.

I guess when you hear about a headache, back ache, tooth ache and other pains you understand excruciating pain but the eye...its weird. I know the eye can really hurt. Ever got hit in the eye with a basket or baseball, a stick or poked by a finger by accident? Man o man what a killer. It seems that the pain lessens and goes away after a while, most often. In this case the eye was watery, red, ultra sensitive to light, a little swollen and extremely painful. She had complained with these symptoms over a week ago but they subsided with the application of eye drops and rest, she thought. This time, late on Thursday they started again and she made an appointment with her eye doctor for Friday afternoon. She couldn't hold out that long.

This has a name. Corneal Ulcer. What is corneal ulcer you ask? It is truly an eye emergency situation. Oh yeah a blister on the eyeball and in this case due to wearing contact lenses. Bummer! This kid lives in the contact lenses. I don't know if she really takes the best care of the lenses or her eyes, but any way. Recently her eye doctor told her she is developing dry eyes and recommended some drops for her to use. This is such a horrible timing for her as well. This was the finals and final projects week for her. She was not only in pain from the eye problem but worried that she won't be able to complete her work that was due in a few days.

The ER Doc told us he saw a spot on her eye but didn't give a diagnosis at first. He gave her some Tylenol 3 and put some drops in the eye that gave her some relief. The pain was so severe she had to get a needle before she got relief. I was relieved. My goodness! it was one helpless feeling and one pitiful sight. We were referred to the hospital Eye Clinic for further assessment and treatment so we sat in the exam room with the lights out, for hours, waiting for the eye clinic to open. The Ophthalmologist told us that it was corneal ulcer. He could see a small spot on the cornea and it is caused by a combination of bacteria from the contacts and dry eyes. He prescribed antibiotic drops that we would administer every 2 hours for 2 days and then every four hours after that. He also gave an ointment to use twice a day and some very potent pain pills to take as needed for the pain.

We were discharged with the treatment plan of rest, she couldn't do anything else anyway, but he also cautioned her not to look at anything intently, like reading watching TV etc, for two days and no computer work. We had to visit the eye clinic again in three days.

The treatment was very effective. She was improving. We had to continue the drops on the same schedule as before and see him again in 3 days. She was able to open her eyes more, the pain was way, way less but the redness was still over a big area of the eye. She still had pain in and over the eye. On the next visit, the Doc reduced the frequency of the drops to three times a day and set up another visit in four days. The redness is almost gone and she is doing much, much, better. She is now trying to get her reports done for school. Hmmmm, I hope the visits will end after this next visit or get pushed for months down the road.

The moral of the story is this. Try to keep things out of your eyes. If your vision is impaired use eye glasses. There are all kinds of frames out there that are fashionable, chic and vogue for all price ranges and looks. If you are opting for contact lenses be very careful. Pair them up with a pair of glasses and reduce the length of time you keep those contacts in. Be very certain to wash your hands before you touch the lenses and the eye. Use plenty of fresh contact solution.
Always, always, always get plenty of rest, eat balanced healthy meals and see your eye care professional regularly.

Take the quiz and get more information on contacts and on protecting your eyes. Take care of your eyes and avoid corneal ulcers and other eye problems, you only get one pair!

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