What is Keratitis and What Should Everyone Know About it?


Do you know what is Keratitis? Keratitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the cornea of your eye. The cornea is the clear part that covers the iris and the pupil. The primary reason behind keratitis is an infection or injury to the eye. 

Keratitis, also known as corneal ulcer, can disrupt the transparency of the cornea. The cornea is the convex outer layer of your eye. The primary function of the cornea is to transmit light rays into the retina. Keratitis is a common condition in people who use contact lenses regularly. 

What is Keratitis:

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause keratitis. Wearing contact lenses beyond the prescribed time limit can increase the risk of developing keratitis. Keratitis can become serious quickly, and hence you should consult an eye doctor at the earliest.   

Factors That Can Cause Keratitis:

The penetration of pathogenic microorganisms is responsible for corneal inflammation. Inflammation in the cornea can adversely affect its transparency. However, there are other reasons which can cause keratitis. 

For instance, the presence of allergenic antigens can affect the transparency of the cornea. Note that the causes of keratitis can assume both ulcerative and non-ulcerative forms. Another common cause of inflammation is damage to the corneal epithelium. The use of contaminated lenses can also aggravate keratitis.     

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Major Symptoms of Keratitis:

Major Symptoms of Keratitis

Here are some of the significant symptoms of keratitis include:

  • Irritation and pain in the affected eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Unable to open your eye
  • Excessive formation of tears
  • Blurriness of vision

Without prompt treatment, the symptoms of keratitis will get worse. If not appropriately treated, keratitis can have many irreversible consequences. Another symptom of keratitis is the swelling of the eyelid. Mucopurulent discharge can also be a symptom of keratitis.

Types :

Usually, there are two main types of keratitis. They are infectious and noninfectious keratitis. The types of infectious keratitis are as follows:

Bacterial :

Bacteria are responsible for causing keratitis in most people. Also, the improper usage of contact lenses can contribute to bacterial keratitis. To prevent the growth of bacterial keratitis, always use contact lenses properly

Viral :

The herpes simplex virus is responsible for causing viral keratitis. In this type of keratitis, you may experience conjunctivitis in the primary stage. There are also other viruses that can cause inflammation of the cornea. Even ocular shingles can cause virus keratitis. 

Fungal :

Fungal keratitis is common in those people who misuse contact lenses. But you can also develop fungal keratitis when exposed to fungi outdoors. Fungal keratitis is pretty common in workers at sawmills.

Deep Keratitis:

Deep keratitis is closely associated with other illnesses like tuberculosis and syphilis. Also, it causes a come-shaped defect in the corneal epithelium.  

The causes of noninfectious keratitis include:

  • Eye injuries like scratches
  • Using contact lenses for extended durations
  • Living in a warm climate
  • A weakened immune system
  • Exposure to intense sunlight

Diagnosing Keratitis- What Should You Know?

Any suspected symptoms associated with keratitis require immediate intervention by eye care specialists. Your doctor will diagnose keratitis properly to avoid further complications. Some common questions that the eye specialist will ask are as follows:

  • Does the patient wear contact lenses for longer durations?
  • Did you have any history of keratitis before?
  • Did you undergo any eye operations?
  • Does the patient have systematic illnesses?

Apart from a thorough diagnosis, eye specialists will also prescribe you various types of lab tests. Through lab tests, eye specialists can identify any viruses which can cause keratitis. In most cases, the eye specialist will execute a slit lamp examination.

Taking proper care of your eyes will help you address keratitis. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with keratitis, contact an eye care specialist today.

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