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  Keratitis

Keratitis describes an inflammation of the cornea of the eye. There are two types of keratitis, superficial keratitis and deep keratitis. Superficial keratitis involves the outer layers of the cornea and healing does not usually result in scaring. Deep keratitis involves layers within the cornea and a scare remains after healing, which affects vision if the scare is near or on the visual axis. There are a few different causes of keratitis.

Keratitis Eye diseases
Keratitis


Symptoms

Symptoms of keratitis mimic conjunctivitis, so it is import to get a complete exam if conjunctivitis does not heal as expected. The symptoms are red eye, light sensitivity, uncomfortable feeling in the eye. Later stages of keratitis can have symptoms of loss of vision or impaired vision, pus drainage and severe pain.

Cause

There are a few pathogens that cause keratitis such as Amoebic keratitis, bacterial keratitis, fungal keratitis, viral keratitis such as Herpes simplex keratitis and Herpes zoster keratitis, exposure keratitis, photo-keratitis, ulcerative keratitis, vernal kerato-conjunctivitis and contact lenses acute red eye (CLARE).

Amoebic keratitis is caused by an amoebic infection of the cornea. It is the most serious of cornea infections and usually affects soft contact lens wearers. Bacterial keratitis is caused by a bacterial infection resulting from an injury or dirty contact lenses. Fungal keratitis is cause by the fungus Fusarium. Herpes simplex keratitis is a viral infection of the cornea that leaves a dendritic ulcer. Photo keratitis is caused by intense ultraviolet radiation such as snow blindness or welder’s arc eye. CLARE is a non-ulcerative sterile keratitis that is associated with Gram-negative bacteria found on contact lenses. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is caused by a severe allergic reaction which develops into corneal inflammation and ulceration.

Diagnosis

Because keratitis can mimic conjunctivitis diagnoses is vital before permanent damage occurs. Diagnoses is made visually by an eye doctor with a physical exam.

Treatment

Treatment is dependent on the cause of the keratitis. Antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral medication is used to treat those infections. Treatment can be prescription pills, eye drops and sometimes intravenous therapy. Over the counter eye drops will not cure keratitis. Contact lens wearers will need to stop using contact lens, discard the current pair, until the cornia is healed. Some infections scar and lead to limited vision. Other infections can cause a perforation or tear in the cornea. This can develop into an infection inside the eye or a endophthalmitis and even loss of the eye. Proper medical intervention can usually treat keratitis without long term visual impairment.

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