What is keratitis?
Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea, the front transparent part of the eye. It can affect just its surface layers or the deeper layers, and might even lead to ulcers and corneal scars that jeopardise vision. This disease should therefore be diagnosed and treated in time to avoid complications and serious after effects.
Redness and eye pain are two symptoms that should urge you to arrange an emergency visit to the ophthalmologist. In the event of keratitis, you will often also notice excess tears and that light bothers you greatly, as well as a loss of visual acuity depending on the degree to which the cornea is affected.
Keratitis can be caused by many different things, and there are two main groups:
- Infectious keratitis: due to bacteria, fungi, amoeba, parasites or viruses (one of the most common being the herpes virus).
- Non-infectious keratitis: caused by severe dry eye, eyelid abnormalities (such as lagophthalmos), allergic reactions, sun exposure, chemical burns, certain drugs such as corticosteroids, skin diseases such as rosacea etc.
One of the main risk factors is the wearing of contact lenses, especially if you do not follow suitable guidelines for use and hygiene, which increases your likelihood of suffering corneal infection. This is the case of very aggressive Acanthamoeba keratitis, which occurs in 80% of the time in contact lens wearers (if you swim with them in, do not clean them or store them in the appropriate products, etc.). As a basic preventive measure, whether or not you wear contact lenses, you must avoid touching your eyes without having first washed your hands.
Diagnosing the cause of keratitis is essential so that we can provide correct therapeutic guidelines that can range from the prescribing of eye drops to antibiotic, antiviral or antifungal drugs, as well as different treatments to regenerate the eye’s surface that contain growth factors (including Endoret eye drops). In severe cases, we might choose surgery and corneal reconstruction techniques that use amniotic membrane and corneal transplantation.
At the Miranza clinics we highlight the importance of acting on keratitis in time, as delaying the application of the appropriate measures for a few hours could lead to a worse result in terms of vision.