Keratitis – Symptoms and causes

Keratitis is a condition that affects the cornea, the clear front covering of the eye. It can be caused by infection, injury, or inflammation and can lead to severe vision problems if left untreated. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms and causes of keratitis.

What is Keratitis?

Keratitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the cornea.. The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye and is responsible for protecting the eye from dirt, dust, and other particles. It also plays an important role in vision by helping to focus light onto the retina. When the cornea becomes inflamed, it can cause discomfort and may affect your vision.

Symptoms of Keratitis

The symptoms of keratitis may vary based on the cause and severity of the condition. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Eye redness
  2. Blurred or cloudy vision
  3. Sensitivity to light
  4. Excessive tearing or discharge from the eye
  5. Experiencing a sensation of having something in your eye.
  6. Eye pain or discomfort
  7. Difficulty keeping the eye open

It is important to note that these symptoms may also be present in other eye conditions, so it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Causes of Keratitis

  1. Infection – One of the most common causes of keratitis is infection, often from bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. These can enter the eye through a scratch or other injury to the cornea.
  2. Injury – Trauma to the eye, such as from a foreign object or contact lens, can also lead to keratitis.
  3. Contact lenses – Improper use or hygiene of contact lenses can increase the risk of developing keratitis.
  4. Dry eyes – When the eye does not produce enough tears, it can lead to dryness and irritation of the cornea, which can make it more susceptible to infection.
  5. Allergies – Certain allergies that affect the eyes can also cause inflammation of the cornea.
  6. Autoimmune disorders – In rare cases, autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can cause keratitis.
  7. Vitamin A deficiency – A lack of vitamin A in the diet can lead to a condition called keratomalacia, which causes severe dryness and inflammation of the cornea.

Preventing of Keratitis

To safeguard against keratitis, there are multiple measures you can implement.

  • Practice good hygiene when handling and wearing contact lenses. This includes properly cleaning and storing them, as well as not sleeping in them.
  • Avoid using expired or damaged contact lenses.
  • Protect your eyes from injury by wearing safety glasses when participating in sports or other activities that could cause trauma to the eye.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, especially if you have an eye infection.
  • If you have dry eyes, use artificial tears or other prescribed treatments to keep the cornea lubricated and prevent inflammation.
  • Make sure to include enough vitamin A in your diet through foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach.

Treatment of Keratitis

The approach to treating keratitis varies based on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In most cases, antibiotics or antiviral eye drops will be prescribed to treat an infection. Steroid eye drops may also used to reduce inflammation.

In more severe cases, oral antibiotics or antivirals may be prescribed. If a foreign object is causing the keratitis, it will need to be removed by a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is keratitis contagious?

A: Yes, if it is caused by an infection, it can spread through direct contact or sharing personal items like towels or pillows.

How is keratitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam and may also take a sample of the eye discharge to determine the cause of the inflammation. They may also use a special dye to examine the cornea more closely.

Can keratitis cause permanent vision loss?

In most cases, with prompt and proper treatment, vision can fully restored. However, if left untreated or in severe cases, keratitis can lead to scarring of the cornea and permanent vision loss.


Keratitis can be a serious condition that requires prompt treatment to prevent complications and preserve vision. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to see an eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Taking good care of your eyes and practicing proper hygiene can also help prevent keratitis from occurring.

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