What are Keratitis Symptoms and Treatment?

In very basic terms, keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea. The symptoms and treatments depend on the severity of the condition. Various factors, including infections, injuries, and underlying medical conditions, can cause it. Keratitis is divided into two categories based on cause: infectious keratitis and noninfectious keratitis.

  • Noninfectious keratitis can be caused by a minor injury, like wearing dirty contact lenses or getting a foreign body in the eye.
  • Infectious keratitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

Damage to your eyes from keratitis can result in vision loss if not treated. Worldwide, keratitis causes most cases of corneal blindness. So to help prevent this, here is what you need to know about its symptoms.

Keratitis Symptoms

Keratitis can cause symptoms such as eye pain, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and eye discharge. Your risk of keratitis increases if you wear contact lenses and don’t clean them properly. Its symptoms include:

Eye Pain

This is more than the feeling of eyestrain or from a lash or dirt in your eye. In those cases, your vision feels better when the lash or dirt is out of your sight or when you can rest your eyes by closing them or using a cool compress. Eye pain can be aching, sharp, throbbing, or pain behind the eye. This more severe type of eye pain is intense, lasts longer, and can happen along with other symptoms. Please have call your optometrist to have this checked out immediately.

Redness of the Eye

A “red eye” is a general term to describe red, irritated, and bloodshot eyes. Redness happens when tiny blood vessels under your eye’s surface become more prominent or inflamed. Usually, it’s a reaction to something irritating your eye.

Redness can develop over time or appear suddenly, such as with allergies or an eye injury. Often, a red eye looks worse than it feels. Many cases of eye redness are not severe, but if your eye or eyes remain red for longer than one week or you have pain or vision problems, make an appointment with an eye care provider. Sometimes, a red look can be severe if it’s a symptom of another disease.

Other Known Symptoms

Please note: if you’re unsure of the severity of your symptoms or error on the side of caution, call Dr. Teles and make an appointment today.

  • Excessive Tearing (Epiphora): Your tears lubricate and protect your eye. But if you’re making too many — or if something stops them from draining properly — seek medical attention. The watery eye can happen for many reasons, many of which don’t need treatment. It can be a temporary condition but also a sign of a severe eye infection or a blockage in your tear ducts.
  • Foreign Body Sensation: This sensation of something in your eye (also called foreign body sensation). You might also say that your eye feels gritty or sandy.
  • Blurred Vision: Blurry vision means only parts of an object you’re looking at are in focus. That uneven focus makes things look blurry or wavy. You can also experience vision disruption up close or far away or eye strain — like your eyes are constantly working too hard to see.
  • Sensitivity to Light: This can be due to eye strain or dry eyes. However, it can also be related to issues like eye infections, eye injuries, or problems with the structure of the eye. The cornea allows light to enter the eye. As light passes through the eye, the iris changes shape by expanding and letting more light through or constricting and letting less light through to change pupil size.
  • Eye Discharge: Eye mucus usually builds up when you are asleep. However, it can also form during waking hours if a condition affects your eye. Usually, it’s not severe. However, for certain types of eye discharge, like thick, green mucus, a stye with yellow mucus, or yellow drainage from the eyelid, have a optometrist check your eye.

Treatment for Keratitis

Treatment for keratitis depends on the underlying cause and may include antibiotics, antiviral or antifungal medications, corticosteroid eye drops, pain relief, and in rare cases, surgery. You must seek medical attention if you suspect you have keratitis, as prompt treatment can prevent complications and preserve your vision. Here are some general treatment options:

  1. Antibiotics: If a bacterial infection causes keratitis, your optometrist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment.
  2. Antiviral medication: For a viral keratitis infection, antiviral medicines are prescribed.
  3. Antifungal medication: If a fungal infection causes keratitis.
  4. Corticosteroids: If the inflammation is severe, your optometrist may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops to reduce inflammation.
  5. Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help relieve eye pain.
  6. Eye patching: In some cases, your optometrist may recommend patching your eye to help reduce eye pain and light sensitivity.
  7. Surgery: Surgery is rarely required to treat keratitis. However, keratitis caused by a foreign object in the eye could need surgery for removal.

It is essential to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of keratitis, as early treatment can prevent complications and help preserve your vision.

Contact Your Optometrist if Symptoms Persist

Getting medical help early with keratitis is essential, like other eye conditions. Contact Looking Glass whenever you have eye pain, especially if it’s coupled with other symptoms. Symptoms include redness, swelling, eye discharge, watery eyes, light sensitivity, or blurry vision. Keratitis and most eye conditions have available treatment, but first, you must see your optometrist for diagnosis.