Keratitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    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.

Medically Reviewed on 11/6/2017

Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea of the eye. Keratitis symptoms and signs include eye pain, blurred vision, photophobia, tearing, and eye redness. There may be a feeling that something is in your eye. Keratitis may come on suddenly (acute) or develop and persist over time (chronic). It can involve only one eye or may involve both eyes. Symptoms of keratitis can range from mild to severe and may be associated with inflammation in other structures of the eye. Keratitis is also classified and described by the exact portion of the cornea that is affected (such as superficial, interstitial, stromal, central, and peripheral).

Causes of keratitis

There are a number of conditions that can cause keratitis. These include infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic), dry eyes, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury or trauma, and a large variety of underlying medical diseases. For some cases of keratitis, the cause is unknown. Wearing contact lenses increases the risk of developing keratitis, especially with improper care and cleaning of contact lenses.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2017

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