Keratitis can be summed up as a general inflammation of the cornea. The cornea is responsible for about sixty percent of your total optical power. Inflammation of the cornea can cause a multitude of problems from very minor to total blindness if not treated properly. Here, we will discuss some common causes of keratitis and the potential damage it can do to you eyes.
There are a number of ways someone can suffer from keratitis. Injury is one way someone can suffer from non infectious keratitis. Any impact to the cornea such as a scratch can result in inflammation. If the scratch on the cornea is not treated properly, bacteria can enter the cornea and cause it to become infected.
Other bacteria and parasites such as acanthamoeba can cause keratitis. Acanthamoeba can sometimes live on the surface of a contact lens that has not properly been cleaned or taken care of. Acanthamoeba lives in water and usually infects the eye when someone washed their contacts with tap water instead of the recommended solution. Wearing your contacts for a prolonged period of time can cause keratitis. General neglect of contact lens hygiene can cause an array of vision problems including keratitis.
Impairments of one’s eyelashes or eyelids can cause a type of noninfectious form of keratitis. Eyelashes that could be growing inward have the risk of damaging or scratching the cornea. Similarly, entropion, which is a condition when your eyelids are rolled inward runs a risk of damaging to cornea as well.
Treatment for keratitis can come in a variety of ways depending on if it is infectious or not. In the case of non infectious keratitis eye drops can be a simple solution for minor scratches. If pain continues even with artificial tear drops a doctor may recommend wearing an eyepatch 24/7 for a few weeks. Many viral, fungal, and bacterial forms of keratitis can be treated through various eye drop treatments. In more severe cases, oral antibiotics or antiviral medications can be prescribed. In the case of acanthamoeba more extreme measures may need to take place. acanthamoeba can be resistant to traditional eye drop medications and therefore may need a corneal transplant.
The best piece of advice to have to try and prevent keratitis is to always properly take care of your contact lenses.