What Is Keratitis and How Is It Treated?

Keratitis is a type of corneal infection that causes inflammation within the protective outer layer of the eye. It is often the result of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Keratitis can also be caused by a deep corneal abrasion, or in rare cases, prolonged wear of contact lenses. Our doctors offer effective treatment for keratitis at Broberg Eye Care in Austin, TX, reducing the inflammation of the cornea and addressing the associated pain and discomfort. When this corneal infection is addressed promptly, it can typically be treated without long-term impaired vision. Delaying treatment can lead to serious complications, including permanent vision damage.

Eye suffering from keratitis

Keratitis affects the outermost layer of the eye, or cornea.

Symptoms and Causes of Keratitis

The symptoms of keratitis can range in levels of severity and may include:

  • Eye pain and redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Corneal tearing or discharge
  • Decreased vision
  • Difficulty opening and closing your eyelid
  • Gritty sensation in the eye

Common causes of keratitis include:

  • Eye injury: The smallest corneal abrasion from a fingernail or another object can allow bacteria or fungi to enter the cornea, causing inflammation, eye pain, and infection.
  • Contaminated water: Swimming in chlorinated water, oceans, lakes, or rivers can increase your chances of developing keratitis. You are more susceptible to keratitis in these conditions if your cornea has been damaged from a corneal abrasion or weakened from prolonged wear of contact lenses.
  • Wearing contact lenses too long: Failing to change or clean your contact lenses regularly can cause microscopic parasites and bacteria to inhabit the surface of the contact lens and infect your eyes.
  • Ocular herpes: This corneal disease can weaken your cornea and increase your chances of keratitis.

In addition, you have a greater risk of developing keratitis if you live in a warm climate, use corticosteroid eye drops, wear contact lenses continuously, or have a weakened immune system due to disease or medications.

How to Treat Keratitis

Early detection of keratitis can help protect your eyesight. The severity of your keratitis will depend on the type of treatment recommended. During the eye examination, one of our doctors will perform a series of tests, including visual acuity exams to effectively diagnose the root cause of your eye infection and the severity of your symptoms.

Early detection of keratitis can help protect your eyesight.

Be prepared to answer certain questions regarding your medical history and recent activity, such as medications you take, lifestyle habits, how often you change your contact lenses, where you have traveled, and how long you have been experiencing symptoms.

If keratitis is diagnosed, the doctor will create a treatment plan catered to your unique needs. For minor to moderate cases, treatment generally includes oral antibiotics, antibacterial or antifungal eye drops, and in some cases, wearing an eye patch. If medication is unsuccessful, symptoms worsen, or the cornea is irreversibly damaged, you may require a corneal transplant. This procedure involves removing the infected corneal tissue and replacing it with healthy donor tissue to restore your vision.

Reach Out to Our Practice

We recommend contacting Broberg Eye Care as soon as symptoms develop. Promptly treating keratitis can protect your eyesight and prevent long-term damage to your cornea. To schedule your consultation, contact our office online or by calling (512) 447-6096.

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