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Fungal Corneal Ulcer: Risk Factors, Symptoms, & Treatments

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A fungal corneal ulcer is an infection of the cornea caused by a fungus. The cornea is a transparent dome-shaped structure of the eye.

It is an eye infection that affects the vision, particularly in outdoor workers. 

It is a painful eye condition that can have serious consequences, like corneal scarring and permanent blindness, if left untreated.

This makes it important to identify and diagnose the condition early. Management through specialized treatments can help prevent complications and improve vision.

This article aims to enhance your understanding of Fungal corneal ulcers by discussing their symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.

What are Fungal Corneal Ulcers

Fungal corneal ulcers are a type of corneal ulcer caused by infection from fungi. 

A fungal corneal ulcer is also known as Fungal Keratitis or Keratomycosis. 

Fungal Keratitis is an infectious type of Keratitis that is the fifth leading cause of blindness.

It typically has a slow progression with dreadful complications ranging from corneal scarring to perforation and, eventually, loss of vision.

It is important to distinguish Fungal Keratitis from other forms of ocular conditions that may present themselves in a similar manner, particularly Bacterial Keratitis.

A fungal corneal ulcer can cause eye pain, blurry vision, and red eyes that may affect your ability to read, drive, and perform other daily activities.

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  • Zonat (Natamycin) 5%
  • Nata 5 ml
  • What are the Risk Factors of Fungal Corneal Ulcers

    Try to avoid using contact lensesSource: FabrikaCR_from_Getty_Images
    Try to avoid using contact lenses

    Exposure to fungi can cause fungal corneal ulcers. The following risk factors can enhance your chances of contracting fungal corneal ulcer

    • Recent eye trauma, particularly involving plants (for example, thorns or sticks)
    • Underlying eye disease
    • Contact lens use
    • Weakened immune system

    You should note that these factors can increase the risk of developing a fungal corneal ulcer. The presence of these factors does not necessarily mean the presence of a corneal ulcer.

    Did you know?
    Regular contact lens use is a risk factor for many other eye conditions like dry eyes and eye allergies.

    Fungal Corneal Ulcer Symptoms

    Many ocular conditions can present themselves with symptoms similar to Fungal Keratitis.

    However, comprehensive knowledge of fungal corneal ulcer symptoms can help you differentiate it from other conditions and take appropriate steps.

    The symptoms of fungal corneal ulcers may include

    You should remember that it is not necessary to experience all these symptoms to have fungal corneal ulcers.

    Consult a professional eyecare specialist if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms. 

    Treatment of Fungal Corneal Ulcers

    Use eyedropSource: pixelshot
    Use eyedrop

    Swift and appropriate treatment of fungal corneal ulcers is necessary to avoid complications like corneal scarring and vision loss.

    It is essential to consult a medical professional who may suggest antifungal eyedrops as primary treatment.

    The eye drops typically need to be used as frequently as once in an hour for effective healing.

    Natamycin is a first-choice antifungal medication for infectious Fungal Keratitis.

    The response to treatment is usually slow and requires at least 4 to 8 weeks of treatment.

    Surgical intervention may be considered if medications prove ineffective. Surgical treatments may include therapeutic and lamellar Keratoplasty.

    Keratoplasty is commonly known as a cornea transplant in which the damaged cornea is replaced with a new one.

    If you wish to explore more about treating corneal ulcers, read Clear Vision Ahead: Finding Effective Corneal Ulcer Treatments.

    Do not use Natamycin with corticosteroid eye drops that are used to relieve eye inflammation. 

    Last Words

    Fungal corneal ulcer or Fungal Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea that can affect your vision.

    It occurs as a result of exposure to fungi, which may result from an injury, infection, or poor hygiene.

    Symptoms like eye pain, redness, tearing, and foreign body sensation may indicate a fungal corneal ulcer.

    It is necessary to seek professional medical advice for prompt treatment, as neglecting the condition can have serious consequences like blindness.

    Fungal corneal ulcers are generally treated with antifungal eyedrops. Surgical options may be considered when other treatments prove ineffective.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can fungal corneal ulcers be prevented?

    Yes, practicing good eye hygiene, avoiding eye trauma, and ensuring proper contact lens care can significantly reduce the risk of fungal corneal ulcers.

    How are fungal corneal ulcers diagnosed?

    Eye specialists may conduct a thorough examination, including corneal scraping for laboratory analysis, to confirm the presence of fungal corneal ulcers.

    Are fungal corneal ulcers contagious?

    No, these ulcers are typically not contagious and do not spread from person to person.

    Can over-the-counter eye drops treat fungal corneal ulcers?

    No, over-the-counter eye drops are not effective against fungal corneal ulcers. Prescription antifungal medications are necessary for proper treatment.

    Is surgery always required for fungal corneal ulcers?

    No, surgery is considered for severe cases or when medications prove ineffective. Most fungal corneal ulcers can be effectively treated with antifungal medications if diagnosed early.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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