Indolent corneal ulcer

Indolent corneal ulcer


Dr Iuliana Ionascu

Iuliana Ionascu 

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Bucharest


The fluorescein test is very important in diagnosis of corneal diseases. Is our best friend that accurately describes the size and the depth of the corneal lesions. If the fluorescein test is positive exclude primarily a foreign body (from the conjunctival fornix  or from the internal surface of the third eyelid) and then examine using the loupe, the edges of corneal lesion. If is an area of loose of the epithelium at the periphery of the lesion, looking like an “opened book (Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 5) your patient has indolent corneal ulcer.

fig 1

Figure 1 – Indolent corneal ulcer

fig 2

Figure 2 – Vascularized indolent

fig 3

Figure 3 – Debridement of the indolent corneal ulcer using cotton-tipped applicators

fig 4

Figure 4 – Debridement of the indolent corneal ulcer using Alger Brush®

The first step in the treatment of indolent corneal ulcer is the debridement of the denude epithelium using a cotton-tipped applicators (Figure 2), scalpel blade or Alger Brush® (Figure 3). Local anesthesia of the cornea using Benoxi® will allow you to perform debridement.

Using cotton-tipped applicators, the loose epithelium is removed using gentle lateral and circular movements. Debridement using a surgical blade is easily performed doing lateral movements, holding the blade’s sharpen edge perpendicular on the corneal surface.

The burr of the Alger Brush® device is faced towards the edges of the corneal ulcer and debridement is performed in a circular movement, following the limit between the ulcer and the healthy cornea. The small burr of the device quickly removes the epithelium so that the surgeon’s hand is laid on the periorbital area for support, to avoid accidents. Throughout debridement the corneal surface is flushed continuously using saline.

After performing the debridement of the indolent ulcer, the lesion is significantly bigger than the initial one (Figure 6), and in some cases, the anterior epithelium is completely removed.

The fluorescein test is used to reveal the size of the lesion after debridement in order to choose a therapeutic approach:

  • medical treatment – corneal healer eye drops and gels
  • therapeutic contact lens and eye drops (Figure 7)
  • VetShield® colagen contact lens and tarsorrhaphy
  • only tarsorrhaphy
fig 5

Figure 5 – Indolent corneal ulcer before debridement

fig 6

Figure 6 – Indolent corneal ulcer after debridement


Figure 7 – One day therapeutical contact lens applied after debridement of the indolent corneal ulcer

fig 8

Figure 8 – The previous case 5 days after local treatment (notice the lesion is smaller)

Indolent corneal ulcer after debridement can be healed ad integrum (Figure 8) in 5-10 days or, in some cases, we need to perform many debridements. That’s why rechecks should be performed each 5 days after debridement and fluorescein test and reexamination with the loupe is mandatory.