What causes corneal ulcer and ulcerative keratitis?

Updated: Aug 05, 2019
  • Author: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Although some corneal ulcers are sterile, most are infectious in etiology. Risk factors for corneal ulcer include contact lens use, HIV infection, trauma, ocular surface disease, and ocular surgery. [1] Overnight contact lens wear has been shown to be associated with an increased risk. Other identified risk factors include older age, male gender, smoking, low socioeconomic class, and inadequate contact lens hygiene.

Bacterial keratitis

Bacterial infection is the most important etiology to exclude in the ED. Corneal infections and infectious keratitis are often presumed to be bacterial until proven otherwise.


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