Take Better Care of Your Corneas
The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped tissue on the front of your eye that covers the pupil and iris of your eye. If it becomes inflamed the condition is called keratitis. This doesn’t necessarily mean there is an infection, but there is inflammation of the cornea.
If you wear your contact lenses too long without cleaning them, this can lead to keratitis. There are a variety of other causes, as well. Regardless of how you get it, keratitis is serious and needs to be treated. Why? Untreated corneal infections can cause blindness.
At Millennium Park Eye Center, we have extensive experience diagnosing and treating keratitis.
What is keratitis?
When the cornea becomes inflamed, this is sometimes referred to as a “corneal ulcer.” It’s usually caused by injury or infection, and the infection can be either bacterial or fungal.
What are the symptoms of keratitis?
The first sign of keratitis is usually eye pain and redness, but this can be more intense than other eye conditions with those traits. Your eye may burn or feel irritated, as if something is in it. Light may hurt your eyes. You may even have trouble opening your eye.
These are the typical symptoms of keratitis:
- Pain (often suddenly oncoming)
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Corneal haze
With keratitis, the symptoms usually appear very quickly.
Causes of keratitis
There can be various causes of keratitis:
- Injury — If any object scratches or injures the surface of your cornea, noninfectious keratitis may result. In addition, an injury may allow microorganisms to gain access to the damaged cornea, leading to infectious keratitis.
- Contaminated contact lenses — Bacteria, fungi, or parasites can take up residence on the surface of a contact lens or in the contact lens case. The cornea then becomes contaminated when the lens is placed on the eye, resulting in infectious keratitis. Wearing your lenses too long can also cause keratitis.
- Viruses — The herpes viruses may cause keratitis.
- Bacteria — The bacterium that causes gonorrhea can cause keratitis.
- Contaminated water — Bacteria, fungi, and parasites in water, typically in oceans, rivers, lakes, and hot tubs, can enter your eyes when you’re swimming, leading to keratitis. But, if your cornea is healthy, it’s still unlikely that these invaders will be successful at creating an infection unless the surface of your cornea has had a previous breakdown. This can happen due to wearing contacts too long.
If you’re showing any signs of keratitis, that merits a call to the team at Millennium Park Eye Center. From antibiotic eye drops to antifungal treatment or corticosteroid therapy, we can cure the infection before it leads to a more serious problem.
Call us at (312) 996-2020.