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  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
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We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Eun-Ha Park

Eun-Ha Park, MD

Ophthalmology

Welcome to My Doctor Online, a website my colleagues and I developed to make it easier for you to take care of your healthcare needs. On this site you will find answers to many of your questions about my clinical practice. Also included are several online features that will allow you to e-mail me, check your laboratory results and refill prescriptions. If you are a patient who sees me regularly, you can reach my office directly at 415-833-5110.

My Offices

Daly City Medical Offices
Appt/Advice: 650-301-5800

See all office information »

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Overview

The cornea is the clear front dome of the eye. A corneal infection (infectious keratitis) can develop if an injury or other condition allows bacteria, a fungus, or a virus to enter the cornea. If an infection is left untreated, it can cause a sore, or ulcer, to develop in the outer area of the cornea. 

Bacteria and fungi can enter the eye in a number of ways; for example, if you are accidentally poked in the eye. If you wear contact lenses, bacteria can enter the eye if lenses are not cleaned properly or you wear them overnight. Several viruses can also cause corneal infections.

Corneal infections are usually treated effectively with medications. In very severe cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary.

Causes

Corneal infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. In rare cases, a microscopic amoeba (Acanthamoeba) found in lakes, rivers, and other sources of freshwater can cause a corneal infection.

Viral infections

  • Shingles. If you had chickenpox as a child or young adult, the virus that causes it – the varicella-zoster virus – can become active again later in life in the form of shingles. The virus can infect the head and neck, including the eyes.
  • Herpes. The virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex, can also cause corneal infections and ulcers. In severe cases, the infection can spread deep into the middle layer of the cornea (stroma) and trigger the immune system to attack and destroy stromal cells. When this happens, the condition is known as stromal keratitis. Ocular herpes can recur a number of times, and, occasionally, we will prescribe long-term prophylactic antiviral medications.

Bacterial and fungal infections 

Everyone is exposed to bacteria and fungi every day. However, an infection can develop only if the surface tissue of the cornea (corneal epithelium) has been damaged in some way. Tissue damage can allow bacteria or fungi to pass through the outer layer of the cornea. A number of factors can increase your risk of developing a corneal infection. They include the following:

  • Extended contact lens wear. Studies have shown that wearing contact lenses for too long can increase your risk for developing infections and corneal ulcers. At night, tears continuously lubricate the eye to keep it clean and prevent infection. However, if a contact lens is in place, tears can't reach the cornea. This can cause the eye to dry out. Extended lens wear can also erode the outer layer of corneal tissue, making it easier for infectious agents to get into the cornea.
  • Swimming. Microbes in water can enter your eye when you are swimming or immersed in a pool, the ocean, a river or lake, or a hot tub. Infections are more likely to develop if the surface of your eye is vulnerable in some way; for example, from a scratch or a foreign object in the eye (including contact lenses). 
  • Eye injury. Any injury to the eye – from an accidental poke with a stick or pencil, for example – can scratch or damage the surface of the outer layer of the cornea. This can allow bacteria to enter and cause infection.
Additional References:

Symptoms

A corneal infection can create a number of symptoms. You may notice any or all of the following changes in your eye:

  • Redness
  • Excessive watering and discharge
  • Poor vision
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensation that something is in the eye

Diagnosis

We can schedule a general eye exam for you in either our Optometry or Ophthalmology department. However, if you have sudden vision changes or symptoms that concern you, contact us to schedule an urgent appointment in Ophthalmology.

We will ask you about your symptoms and examine your eyes. If we suspect a corneal infection, the examination will include the following tests:

  • Visual acuity test. Just like a regular eye exam, this tests the strength of your central vision by requiring you to read letters on a wall chart some distance away.
  • Slit-lamp exam. During the exam, we use a microscope with a strong slit-shaped beam to examine the cornea. The instrument uses this narrow beam of light to help us see the cornea clearly. 
  • Lab work. We may send a sample of tears for testing to confirm the cause of the infection. Alternatively, if an ulcer is present, we may remove a tiny amount of tissue to be tested. This will help confirm if the infection is caused by bacteria, a fungus, or a virus.

Prevention

There are a number of things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and reduce your risk for developing a corneal infection.

Practice consistent eye hygiene. Always wash your hands before touching your eye or the area around your eye. Keep makeup utensils clean and replace them regularly. If you wear contact lenses, wash your hands thoroughly before inserting or removing your lenses. Use the cleaning solution(s) we recommend for your type of lens and keep your contact lens case clean. Never make your own contact lens solutions out of tap water. Ask us how long to keep the lenses in your eye. We strongly recommend that you do not sleep with your contact lenses in place, even the extended wear type of contact lenses, since most contact lens-related corneal infections are caused by sleeping with them in place.

Schedule regular eye exams. We recommend that everyone come in for regular eye exams. If you wear contact lenses, you need to come in every year to have your prescription checked.

Additional References:

Complications and Treatment

It is important to contact us immediately if you think you have a corneal infection. Left untreated, an infection can cause a number of complications, including chronic corneal inflammation and scarring, impaired vision, and, in very severe cases, permanent loss of sight.

Treatment

The treatment and medications we recommend will depend on the cause of the infection:

  • Bacterial infections. Antibacterial eyedrops are usually effective. 
  • Fungal infections. In mild cases, we will prescribe antifungal eyedrops. We may prescribe oral antifungal medications at the same time to make sure treatment is successful. 
  • Viral infections. If a virus is causing the infection, we will prescribe antiviral eyedrops and/or oral antiviral medications. These drugs are effective at treating the symptoms. However, some viruses such as herpes simplex can recur and cause further infections.
  • Acanthamoeba infections. We usually prescribe antimicrobial eyedrops for this type of infection. However, corneal infections caused by Acanthamoeba do not always respond to medications, and the course of treatment is usually prolonged. A corneal transplant may be the only effective treatment for severe cases.

Surgery

If treatment is delayed or your infection is severe, you may develop scarring on the cornea that can interfere with your vision. We may recommend a corneal transplant to restore your normal eyesight. The exact type of surgery will depend on the nature and location of the damaged tissue in your cornea.

Corneal transplant surgery

During the procedure, we remove the damaged cornea and replace it with a donated human cornea. After a period of time, your vision will usually improve.

We have surgeons who specialize in cornea surgery at most Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers. If you are a candidate for these procedures, we will refer you to one of these specialists.

Your Care with Me

If you suspect that you have a corneal infection, please call our Appointment and Advice line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our advice nurses can give you immediate advice, and our telephone staff can send me a message or book an appointment for you.

Your first appointment is likely to take at least 1 hour and possibly longer. During your office visit, we will discuss your medical and family history and I will perform a comprehensive eye exam and some diagnostic tests.

I may administer eyedrops to dilate your pupils so that I can clearly see the structures of your eyes. Your pupils will remain dilated for several hours, so you may wish to bring someone who can drive you home after your exam.

I will explain the findings of your exam and answer any questions or concerns you may have. If you notice any new changes, please let me know.

If we decide that you need further evaluation, or further treatment or surgery, I will discuss the treatment options that are available, and together we will create a treatment plan that is right for you.

If you need to talk with me after your visit or procedure, please call my office. You can also e-mail me with nonurgent issues from this website whenever it is convenient for you.

If you have urgent concerns or issues while my office is closed, or need general medical advice, you can call the Appointment and Advice line, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be connected with a nurse who can give you immediate advice.

If you are experiencing a serious problem or an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room when the clinic is not open.

Coordinating Your Care

Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, and health education, makes getting your care easier for you.

Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system, which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your care to stay connected on your health status and collaborate with each other as appropriate.

When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your condition, care is safer and more effective.

If you come to an office visit
  • At the beginning of your visit, you will receive information about when you are due for your next test, screening, or immunization. We can discuss and schedule any preventive tests that you need. 
  • At the end of your visit, you may receive a document called the "After Visit Summary" that will summarize the issues we discussed during your visit. You can refer to it if you forget what we discussed. You can also view it online under Past Visits.
  • To help you prepare for your visit, please see additional details under Office Visit. 
If I prescribe medications

We will work together to monitor and assess how your medications are working and make adjustments over time. Prescriptions can be filled at any Kaiser Permanente pharmacy. Just let me know which pharmacy works best for you, and I will send the prescription electronically in advance of your arrival at the pharmacy.

If refills are needed in the future, you can:
  • Order them online or by phone. Order future refills from my home page or by phone using the pharmacy refill number on your prescription label.
  • Have them delivered to you by mail at no extra cost. Or you can pick up your medications at the pharmacy. If no refills remain when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact me regarding your prescription.
If lab testing or imaging is needed

For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory of your choice. For imaging procedures, we will schedule an appointment with the Radiology department. When the results are ready, I will contact you with your results by letter, secure e-mail message, or phone. In addition, you can view most of your laboratory results online, along with any comments that I have attached to explain them.

If I refer you to another specialty colleague

If we decide together that your condition would also benefit from the care of other types of specialists, our staff will help arrange the appointment(s) with one or more of my specialty colleagues.

If surgery or a procedure is a treatment option

I will recommend you review educational information and tools to help you prepare for your procedure or surgery. The information will often help you decide whether surgery is right for you. If you decide to have a surgery or procedure, the information will provide details about how to prepare and what to expect.

If we proceed with surgery, I will have my Surgery Scheduler contact you to determine a surgery date and provide you with additional instructions regarding your procedure. Once your surgery is scheduled, a medical colleague of mine will contact you to conduct a preoperative medical evaluation that will assure that you are properly prepared for your surgery.

Convenient Resources for You

As your specialist, I have a goal to provide high-quality care and to offer you choices that make your health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.

My Doctor Online is available at any time that is most convenient for you. From my home page you can:

Manage your care securely
  • View and compose secure e-mail messages.
  • Manage your prescriptions.
  • View your past visits and test results.
  • View your preventive services to see whether you are due for a routine screening or updated immunization.
Learn more about your condition
  • Read about causes, symptoms, treatments and procedures.
  • Find interactive health tools, videos, and podcasts to help you manage your condition.
  • View programs to help you decide on or prepare for a surgery or procedure.
Stay healthy
  • Locate health education classes and support groups offered at every medical center.
  • Explore interactive programs, videos, and podcasts that focus on helping you stay healthy.
  • View your Preventive Services to see whether you are due for a routine screening or updated immunization.

Related Health Tools:

Videos

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If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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