An inflammation of the cornea, which is the transparent, dome-shaped tissue covering the iris and pupil in the front of the eye, is known as keratitis. An infection may or may not be linked to keratitis. A very mild injury, such as using contact lenses for an extended period of time or putting a foreign body in the eye, might result in noninfectious keratitis. It is possible for bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites to cause infectious keratitis.
Make an appointment to see an eye doctor if you experience other symptoms of keratitis, such as redness in your eyes. Mild to moderate cases of keratitis are typically efficiently treated without requiring vision correction if treated promptly. Untreated keratitis can result in dangerous complications that could permanently harm your eyesight, especially if the infection is severe.
These are the symptoms of keratitis:
- Red eyes
- Pain in the eyes
- Excessive tear production or other eye discharge
- The sensation of something being in your eye
- Having trouble opening your eyelid due to discomfort or irritability
- Blurring of eyesight
- Visual deterioration
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
Make an appointment to see an eye doctor straight immediately if you have any of the symptoms associated with keratitis. Late detection and management of keratitis may result in severe consequences, such as visual impairment.
Possible causes of keratitis includes:
- Contaminated water.When you swim, bacteria, fungi, and parasites in the water—especially in rivers, lakes, and hot tubs—can get into your eyes and cause keratitis. A healthy cornea is unlikely to become infected, even if you are exposed to these organisms, unless there has already been a breakdown of the corneal surface, such as by wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time.
- Bacteria, fungi or parasites.These organisms could exist on the surface of a contact lens or its carrying case. When the lens is within your eye, it can contaminate the cornea and cause infectious keratitis. Both infectious and noninfectious keratitis can be brought on by improper contact lens care or contact lens overwear.
- Viruses.Keratitis may result from the herpes viruses, specifically herpes simplex and herpes zoster.
- Bacteria.Pseudomonas, streptococcus, and staphylococcus are common bacteria that cause keratitis.
- Injury. Anything that scrapes or damages the surface of your cornea could cause noninfectious keratitis. Furthermore, an injury could provide microbes access to the cornea, leading to infectious keratitis.
The following variables may raise your chance of developing keratitis:
- Eye injury.You can be more susceptible to getting keratitis if you have already had damage to one of your corneas.
- Contact lenses.Your risk of developing both infectious and noninfectious keratitis increases if you wear contact lenses, especially if you sleep with them in. Usually, wearing them longer than advised, not properly disinfecting them, or using contact lenses while swimming are the causes of the risk.
Those who wear contacts on a daily basis and remove them at night are less likely to get keratitis than those who use extended-wear contacts, or wear them constantly.
- Weak immune system.You have an increased chance of getting keratitis if you have an illness or are taking medication that compromises your immune system.
- Corticosteroid use. Corticosteroid eye drops can worsen pre-existing keratitis or raise your risk of getting infectious keratitis if you use them to treat an eye condition.