Classification and external resources

An eye with non-ulcerative sterile keratitis.
ICD-10 H16
ICD-9 370
DiseasesDB 7150
MeSH D007634

Keratitis is a condition in which the eye's cornea, the front part of the eye, becomes inflamed. The condition is often marked by moderate to intense pain and usually involves impaired eyesight.[1]



Superficial keratitis involves the superficial layers of the cornea. After healing, this form of keratitis does not generally leave a scar.

Deep keratitis involves deeper layers of the cornea, and the natural course leaves a scar upon healing that impairs vision if on or near the visual axis. This can be reduced or avoided with the use of topical corticosteroid eyedrops.


Keratitis has multiple causes, one of which is an infection of a present or previous herpes simplex virus secondary to an upper respiratory infection, involving cold sores.


  • Amoebic keratitis. Amoebic infection of the cornea is the most serious corneal infection, usually affecting contact lens wearers.[2] It is usually caused by Acanthamoeba. On May 25, 2007, the CDC issued a health advisory due to increased risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) associated with use of Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose eye solution.[3]
  • Bacterial keratitis. Bacterial infection of the cornea can follow from an injury or from wearing contact lenses. The bacteria involved are Staphylococcus aureus and for contact lens wearers, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Pseudomonas aeruginosa contains enzymes that can digest the cornea.[4]
  • Fungal keratitis (cf. Fusarium, causing recent incidences of keratitis through the possible vector of Bausch & Lomb ReNu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution)
  • Viral keratitis


  • Exposure keratitis — due to dryness of the cornea caused by incomplete or inadequate eye-lid closure.
  • Photokeratitis — keratitis due to intense ultraviolet radiation exposure (e.g. snow blindness or welder's arc eye.)
  • Ulcerative keratitis
  • Contact lens acute red eye (CLARE) — a non-ulcerative sterile keratitis associated with colonization of Gram-negative bacteria on contact lenses.
  • Severe allergic response may lead to corneal inflammation and ulceration (i.e. vernal keratoconjunctivitis).[6]
  • Feline eosinophilic keratitis — affecting cats and horses; possibly initiated by feline herpesvirus 1 or other viral infection.[7]


Effective diagnosis is important in detecting this condition and subsequent treatment as keratitis is sometimes mistaken for an allergic conjunctivitis.


Treatment depends on the cause of the keratitis. Infectious keratitis generally requires antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral therapy to treat the infection. This treatment can involve prescription eye drops, pills, or even intravenous therapy. Over-the-counter eye drops are typically not helpful in treating infections. In addition, contact lens wearers are typically advised to discontinue contact lens wear and discard contaminated contact lenses and contact lens cases.

Antibacterial solutions include Quixinex (levofloxacin), Zymar (gatifloxacin), Vigamox (moxifloxacin), Ocuflox (ofloxacin — available generically). Steroid containing medications should not be used for bacterial infections, as they may exacerbate the disease and lead to severe corneal ulceration and corneal perforation. These include Maxitrol (neomycin+polymyxin+dexamethasone — available generically), as well as other steroid medications.. One should consult an ophthalmologist or optometrist for treatment of an eye condition.

Some infections may scar the cornea to limit vision. Others may result in perforation of the cornea, (an infection inside the eye), or even loss of the eye. With proper medical attention, infections can usually be successfully treated without long-term visual loss.

See also


  1. ^ Keratitis
  2. ^ Martín-Navarro, M.; Lorenzo-Morales, J.; Cabrera-Serra, G.; Rancel, F.; Coronado-Alvarez, M.; Piñero, E.; Valladares, B. (Nov 2008). "The potential pathogenicity of chlorhexidine-sensitive Acanthamoeba strains isolated from contact lens cases from asymptomatic individuals in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain". Journal of medical microbiology 57 (Pt 11): 1399–1404. doi:10.1099/jmm.0.2008/003459-0. ISSN 0022-2615. PMID 18927419.  edit
  3. ^ CDC Advisory
  4. ^ Tang A, Marquart ME, Fratkin JD, McCormick CC, Caballero AR, Gatlin HP, O'Callaghan RJ (2009). "Properties of PASP: A Pseudomonas Protease Capable of Mediating Corneal Erosions". Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 50 (8): 3794–801. doi:10.1167/iovs.08-3107. PMC 2874894. PMID 19255155. 
  5. ^ "What is onchocerciasis?". CDC. Retrieved 2010-06-28. "transmission is most intense in remote African rural agricultural villages, located near rapidly flowing streams...(WHO) expert committee on onchocerciasis estimates the global prevalence is 17.7 million, of whom about 270,000 are blind." 
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Keratitis — Ker a*ti tis, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ke ras, atos, horn + itis.] (Med.) Inflammation of the cornea. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Keratītis — (griech.), soviel wie Hornhautentzündung; s. Hornhautentzündung, Hornhautflecke und Hypopyon …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Keratitis — Keratītis (grch.), Hornhautentzündung. Keratoglōbus, Keratokōnus, Ausdehnung und Vergrößerung der Hornhaut …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Keratitis — Keratitis, griech., Entzündung der Hornhaut; Keratocele, Bruch der Hornhaut; Keratomalacie, Erweichung der Hornhaut; Keratonyxis, Durchbohrung der Hornhaut; Keratophyten, Hornhautpilze; Keratotomie, chirurgische Operation an der Hornhaut …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • keratitis — keratìtis m DEFINICIJA pat. upala očne rožnice uzrokovana mahom infekcijom bakterijama, virusima ili gljivicama ETIMOLOGIJA kerat (o) + itis …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • keratitis — [ker΄ə tīt′is] n. [ KERAT(O) + ITIS] inflammation of the cornea …   English World dictionary

  • keratitis — /ker euh tuy tis/, n. Pathol. inflammation of the cornea. [1855 60; KERAT + ITIS] * * * Inflammation of the cornea (see eye). The conjunctiva may also be inflamed (keratoconjunctivitis). Depending on the cause, including dryness of the eye (from… …   Universalium

  • Keratitis — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 H16 Keratitis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • keratitis — Inflammation of the cornea. SEE ALSO: keratopathy. [kerato + G. itis, inflammation] actinic k. a reaction of the cornea to ultraviolet light. deep punctate k. sharply defined opacities in a …   Medical dictionary

  • Keratitis — Kerati̱tis [zu gr. ϰερας, Gen.: ϰερατος = Horn] w; , ...titi̱den (in fachspr. Fügungen: ...ti̱tides): Entzündung der Augenhornhaut. Kerati̱tis den|dri̱tica: Entzündung u. astförmige Trübung der Augenhornhaut. Kerati̱tis dis|ci|fọrmis: Entzündung …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

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