The outermost part of the eye is called the cornea, which covers the iris and pupil. Inflammation of the cornea is called Keratitis. Injury and infection are common causes of Keratitis. Fungal, bacterial, parasitic and viral infection can cause Keratitis disease. Viral Keratitis is cause by Herpes Simplex Type 1 virus, Adenovirus and Varicella Zoster virus. As compared to Viral Keratitis, bacterial keratitis occurs less often. Infectious Keratitis affects the cornea’s outer layer, could go deeper and cause impaired vision. At times surgery on the cornea and also when contact lenses that do not fit properly may traumatize the front of the eye leading to Keratitis.
Symptoms of Keratitis include difficulty in keeping the eyelids open, red eye, blurred vision, watery eyes, sensation of sand in the eye, sensitivity to light and pain. Generally only one gets affected by Keratitis but when the disease is caused by other factors, both eyes may get affected.
Diagnosis can is done by the doctor by using a slit lamp a special instrument to look for any ulcer caused by viral infection in the cornea. Visual acuity, clearness and sharpness and response to light by the pupil may also be tested by the doctor. A sample may be taken by swabbing inside the eyelid gently and then sending it to the lab for culture.
Antibiotics or antiviral medication is given to treat bacterial Keratitis and Herpes Keratitis. If the Keratitis is caused by other viruses then within a few days, the disease could get better. Antibacterial eye drops are effective in treating infection of mild bacterial Keratitis. Oral antibiotics may be needed to treat moderate to severe Keratitis infection. Oral antifungal medication or antifungal eye drops may be needed to treat Fungal Keratitis.
Wearing appropriate eye gear and sunglasses help in avoiding injury to the eyes and in the process prevent Keratitis. Avoid putting fingers into the eyes if you have a cold sore as this could spread infection. Steroid eye drops to treat herpes simplex virus can be put into the eyes only with doctor’s advice or else it could worsen the infection. Maintaining routine hygiene with contact lenses, using moisturizing eye drops and ensuring a balanced diet can help prevent causes of Keratitis.