Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea — the clear, dome-shaped tissue on the front of your eye that covers the pupil and iris. Keratitis may or may not be associated with an infection. Noninfectious keratitis can be caused by a relatively minor injury, wearing your contact lenses too long or other diseases. Infectious keratitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Signs and symptoms of keratitis include:
- Eye redness
- Eye pain
- Excess tears or other discharge from your eye
- Difficulty opening your eyelid because of pain or irritation
- Blurred vision
- Decreased vision
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- A feeling that something is in your eye
If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of keratitis, make an appointment to see your doctor right away. Delays in diagnosis and treatment of keratitis can lead to serious complications, including blindness.
Causes of keratitis include:
- Injury. If an object scratches the surface of one of your corneas or penetrates a cornea, keratitis without an infection may result. In addition, an injury may allow bacteria or fungi to gain access to the cornea through the damaged surface, causing keratitis that involves an infection.
- Contaminated contact lenses. Bacteria, fungi or parasites — particularly the microscopic parasite acanthamoeba — may inhabit the surface of a contact lens and contaminate the cornea when the lens is in your eye, resulting in infectious keratitis.
- Viruses. Viruses such as the herpes viruses (herpes simplex and herpes zoster) and the virus that causes chlamydia may cause keratitis.
Factors that may increase your risk of keratitis include:
- Contact lenses. Wearing contact es increases your risk of infectious and noninfectious keratitis. The risk typically stems from not disinfecting lenses properly, wearing contact lenses while swimming, wearing them longer than recommended, or using water or homemade solutions to store and clean lenses. Keratitis is more common in people who use extended-wear contacts, or wear contacts continuously, than in those who use daily wear contacts and take them out at night.
- Reduced immunity. If your immune system is compromised due to disease or medications, you're at higher risk of developing keratitis.
- Corticosteroids. Use of corticosteroid eyedrops to treat an eye disorder can increase your risk of developing keratitis or worsen existing keratitis.
- Potential complications of keratitis include:
- Chronic corneal inflammation
- Chronic or recurrent viral infections of your cornea
- Open sores on your cornea (corneal ulcers)
- Corneal swelling and scarring
- Temporary or permanent reduction in your vision
- eye drops according to the cause of keratitis which can be obtained from cultures of corneal
- appropriate oral drugs cause keratitis among other anti-fungal drugs
- transplant / graft corneal