Keratitis

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View the Eye Diseases and Conditions Slideshow Pictures

Keratitis Symptoms

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision refers to a lack of sharpness of vision resulting in the inability to see fine detail. Blurred vision may result from abnormalities present at birth such as nearsightedness or farsightedness that require corrective lenses (eyeglasses) or it may signal the presence of eye disease. Blurry vision may be experienced in one eye or in both eyes, depending upon the cause.

Quick GuideEye Problems Pictures Slideshow: Recognize These Common Eye Conditions

Eye Problems Pictures Slideshow: Recognize These Common Eye Conditions

Keratitis facts

  • Keratitis is the medical term for inflammation of the cornea.
  • Keratitis has many causes, including infection, dry eyes, disorders of the eyelids, physical and chemical injury, and underlying medical diseases.
  • Keratitis symptoms and signs include
    • eye pain,
    • blurred vision,
    • photophobia,
    • tearing, and
    • eye redness.
  • The diagnosis of keratitis can be confirmed by the use of a slit lamp.
  • If keratitis is treated correctly and promptly, permanent damage to the eye can usually be avoided.

What is keratitis?

Keratitis is the medical term for inflammation of the cornea. The cornea is the dome-shaped window in the front of the eye. When looking at a person's eye, one can see the iris and pupil through the normally clear cornea. The cornea bends light rays as a result of its curved shape and accounts for approximately two-thirds of the eye's total optical power, with the lens of the eye contributing the remaining one-third. Only the very thin tear film lies between the front of the cornea and our environment.

The cornea is about 0.5 millimeter thick. The back of the cornea is bathed in the aqueous fluid that fills the anterior chamber of the eye. The cornea has a diameter of about 13 millimeters (½ inch) and, together with the sclera (the white part of the eye) forms the entire outer coat of the eye.

What are the causes of keratitis?

Keratitis, the eye condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed, has many potential causes. Various types of infections, dry eyes, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury, and a large variety of underlying medical diseases may all lead to keratitis. Some cases of keratitis result from unknown factors.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2016

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