Bacterial Keratitis

What is Bacterial Keratitis?

Bacterial keratitis is an infection of the cornea that usually develops very quickly.


Symptoms of bacterial keratitis may include:

  • Reduced vision
  • Pain in the eye (often sudden)
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Tearing
  • Excessive tearing or discharge from your eye
  • Because the infection can be blinding and develops so quickly, it is important to see an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) immediately if you think you may have bacterial keratitis.

Causes and Treatment

Bacterial keratitis can have various causes, including:

  • Contact lens use, especially extended-wear lenses
  • Use of contaminated eye medicine or other solution applied to the eye
  • Use of topical steroids
  • Recent corneal disease
  • Reduced immunity due to diabetes, alcoholism or malnutrition
  • Diagnosis of the infection may involve scraping the eye to take a small sample of material.

Treatment of bacterial keratitis usually involves antibiotic drops and may require multiple return visits to your ophthalmologist.

Drops are usually put in frequently. Treatment may also involve a topical steroid.

If you wear contact lenses, safe handling, storage and cleaning of your lenses are key steps to reduce your risk of a keratitis infection. Learn how to safely take care of your contact lenses.


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