Keratitis is a disorder of the eye which causes inflammation in the cornea. The infection has striking feature which is watery and painful eyes. It also is the main reason for impairment of eyesight. There are chances of adults as well as children to get infected with keratitis.

Keratitis Symptoms

The common symptoms of keratitis are inflammation of eyes, redness of eyes, and sensitivity to light. Blurred vision is also one of the keratitis symptoms.  Severe keratitis shows symptoms like corneal ulceration, swelling of blood vessels in eye, scarring, loss of vision and glaucoma. The symptoms are aggravated on exposure to UV rays in sunlight.

Keratitis Treatment

All types of Keratitis must be treated immediately to avoid the entry of the pathogen inside the anterior chamber of the eyes and lead to corneal ulcers and also loss of vision. Mild keratitis can be treated with antibacterial or antifungal eye drops. If vitamin A deficiency is the cause of keratitis, vitamin A supplementation is given.

Many times cold and hot compress is used to relieve the symptoms of inflammation of eyes.

Cleanliness and hygiene must be maintained while using contact lenses to prevent keratitis caused due to infections.

Antivirals are used to control the viral infection causing keratitis. These antivirals are nucleoside analogs which competitively inhibit the DNA polymerase enzyme that is used in DNA replication.

Steroids are used according to the severity of the infection. Usually 1% prednisolone or 0.1% dexamethasone are used in the treatment of keratitis.

Some patients in which keratitis have recurred have scarring in the cornea. This scarring can be removed by surgery to give them clear vision.

For the treatment of keratitis associated with glaucoma many therapies are included. They are  suppressants, steroids, antivirals and cycloplegics.

Keratitis Causes

The most frequent cause of keratitis is the physical or chemical trauma to cornea further infected by bacteria, virus or parasite.

The bacterial keratitis is mainly caused by using contact lenses. Bacteria which causes keratitis are mainly Staphylococci, Hemophilus, Streptococci and Pseudomonas.

Viruses that cause keratitis are commonly occurring respiratory viruses which include adenoviruses. Herpes zoster virus can cause keratitis.  Viruses such as Herpes Simplex 1 and2, rubella, measles, and mumps are also causative agents of keratitis.

Fungi infections causing keratitis is rare. Some of the fungi causing microbial keratitis are Candida, Aspergillus and Nocardia. 

Also evidence of onchocercal keratitis during the third world war was observed by the parasitic infection.

Keratitis Types

Keratitis is differentiated according to its severity, causes and location. If the keratitis involves epithelium, it is called superficial keratitis. Interstitial keratitis is the keratitis caused in deeper layers of the cornea. Keratoconjunctivitis shows inflammation of cornea as well as conjunctiva. Kerato-uvetis involves inflammation of cornea and also uveal tract.

Keratitis caused by Herpes zoster is distinguished in five forms

  • Epithelial keratitis
  • Nummular keratitis
  • Disciform keratitis
  • Limbal vascular keratitis
  • Neurotrophic keratitis