Keratitis is the inflammation of the front part of the eye, also known as the cornea. Most time the infection will begin in the outer layer of the cornea and can move deeper. The deeper it spread the greater the risk of impaired vision. Most experience moderate to intense pain. Depending on the cause of the inflammation the duration of it can be brief or long lasting and reoccurring. Worst possible case it can result in the loss of sight and permanent damage

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There are several causes ranging from types of infections, dry eyes, injury, and other underlying medical diseases. An example of an infectious cause would be if you have or had herpes simplex virus, or an upper respiratory infection.


Common symptoms of keratitis are:
  • redness
  • feeling of sand or debri in eye
  • pain
  • sensitivity to light
  • tearing
  • decrease in vision
Depending on the cause of the inflammation and how deep it is, you will experience pain varying mild to severe.


In order to determine the exact cause we classify keratitis based on its location, severity, and cause. Medical history is import when determining the cause as well.

Superficial Keratitis
This type involves the superficial layer or the surface layer of the cornea

Deep Keratitis
This type involves the deeper layer of the cornea and can sometime be called stromal keratitis. This type can leave a scar if its to close to the visual axis Keratitis can occur in one or both of the eyes, as well as acute or chronic meaning it can occur just once or keep occurring. The most common type of keratitis is caused by infection, ranging from bacteria, virus, and fungi.

This is the most common type of keratitis. It can be due to an eye injury, such as a small scratch that becomes infected with bacteria. This is most common among people who wear contacts.

This type of keratitis can be caused by several virus such as the herpes simplex virus, or respiratory viruses

This type of keratitis is unusual and is mostly caused from underlying medical issues.

Acanthamoeba keratitis
This pus-producing condition is very painful. It is a common source of infection in people who wear soft or rigid contact lenses. It can be found in tap water, soil, and swimming pools

Photokeratitis or snow blindness is caused by excess exposure to UV light. This can occur with sunlight, suntanning lamps, or a welding arc.

Antibiotics, anti-fungal, and antiviral medication are used for treatment. A broad spectrum antibiotic is going to be used without delay, but if the doctors verify the offending organism, there are chances of change the medication. Maybe patient is to require taking multiple medications. The patient must know when to take the medication. A sterile, cotton-tipped applicator used to lightly remove infected tissue and let the eye to heal more quickly. Anti-fungal, antibiotic, or antiviral eye drops are given to treat keratitis, but they must be used by doctor’s permission. Unsuitable or over-the-counter medicine can destroy your vision. A patient with keratitis should wear sunglasses to protect the healing eye from bright light, but it must be used by doctor’s permission. The patient may require visit to doctor every day for check up.


Children and adults who wear contact lenses should always use sterile lens-cleaning and disinfecting solutions. Tap water is not sterile and should not be used to clean contact lenses. Do not over wear contact lenses. Remove them if the eyes become red or irritated. Replace contact lenses when scheduled to do so. Replace contact lens cases every three months. Eating a well-balanced diet and wearing protective glasses when working or playing in potentially dangerous situations can reduce anyone's risk of developing keratitis.

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Web Resources

Related Terminology

List of eye diseases and disorders
List of systemic disease
Exposure keratitis
Ulcerative keratitis