Keratitis

General Illness Information

Medical Term:
Keratitis

Common Name: None Specified

Description: Infection or inflammation of the cornea (the center portion of the eye that surrounds the pupil).

Causes:

  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections. The most common is herpes simplex virus, Type I.
  • Drying of the eye caused by an eyelid disorder or insufficient tear formation.
  • Foreign object in the eye.
  • Contact lenses over-use.
  • Intense light, such as from welding arcs or the reflection of intense sunlight from snow or water. (Symptoms may not appear for 24 hours after exposure).
  • Vitamin A deficiency.
  • Allergy to eye cosmetics, air pollution, airborne particles (pollen, dust, mold, or yeast) and other allergens.

Prevention:

  • Wear protective glasses, if your work involves eye hazards.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that contains sufficient vitamin A or take multiple-vitamin supplements containing vitamin A.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Eye pain.
  • Redness of the eye.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye.
  • Tearing and blurred vision.

Risk Factors

  • Poor nutrition, especially insufficient vitamin A.
  • Contact lens wearers.
  • Illness that has lowered resistance.
  • Viral infections elsewhere in the body, especially cold sores or genital herpes.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Special eye exam confirms keratitis. A vision test may also be performed.

General Measures:

  • Discontinue use of contact lenses until infection clears.
  • Treatment usually involves eye medication.

Medications:

  • Antibiotic or anti-viral eye drops and ointments.
  • Don’t use non-prescription eye drops containing topical corticosteroids. These may worsen the condition.

Activity:

No restriction.

Diet:

No specific diet.

Possible Complications:

  • Glaucoma.
  • Ulceration and scarring of the cornea, leading to vision loss.

Prognosis

With early treatment, most types of keratitis are curable.

Other

‘Nothing Specified’.

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