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Recognizing the First Signs of Keratitis

Recognizing the First Signs of Keratitis

Are you having a problem with your eyes? Any change in your eyes’ appearance or other eye issue is important to have checked out because it might point to a serious issue that could put your vision at risk. 

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Khachikian is an expert in diagnosing and treating all types of eye conditions. One fairly common eye problem that requires medical attention from an eye specialist is keratitis.

What is keratitis?

When you have keratitis, your cornea is inflamed. Your cornea is the clear covering on the front of your eye protecting your iris (the colored part of your eye) and the pupil (the dark center). 

Keratitis can be either noninfectious or infectious. Either way, the condition requires medical treatment.

What causes keratitis?

Your cornea can become inflamed for a number of reasons. You could get noninfectious keratitis from allergies, forgetting to take out your contact lenses or not cleaning them thoroughly, getting a speck of debris in your eye, sustaining a minor injury, and getting a scratch on your cornea. 

You can also get keratitis from too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 

If Dr. Khachakian says you have infectious keratitis, it could be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite in the eye. Bacteria is the leading cause of infectious keratitis overall. The herpes simplex virus is the No. 1 cause of viral keratitis.

What are the signs of keratitis?

Sudden pain in your eye and redness are two early signs of keratitis. The following are other common indications that you may have keratitis. 

These symptoms also could be signs of other eye problems, so it’s important to seek out an expert eye doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

Why is it important to get treated for keratitis? 

Untreated infectious keratitis is one of the major reasons for blindness that could have been prevented. This is why it’s so important to seek treatment right away for eye problems. 

If you have red eyes, you may think you just have an allergy. But in the case of infectious keratitis, waiting too long to seek treatment could lead to chronic viral infections of your cornea, inflammation, and scarring. Scar tissue can degrade your vision. 

Treatment for keratitis

The treatment Dr. Khachikian recommends for you depends on the type of keratitis you have.

Noninfectious keratitis

If you’ve sustained a minor abrasion or scratch on the cornea, you may only need artificial tear drops to soothe your eye while it heals. If you’re in pain with a lot of tears, you may require topical medication or need to wear an eye patch for about a day. 

Infectious keratitis

If your infection is bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic, you need prescription eye drops. You may also need to take oral medication. Dr. Khachikian follows up with you to ensure you’re healing. 

Call Stephen Khachikian, MD, or book an appointment online today if you have red eye, eye pain, or other eye symptoms. We’re your partner in your eye health.

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