What is Keratitis?
What is Keratitis? Keratitis is an inflammation that occurs in the cornea of the eye. Eye injury or infection is a major cause of keratitis. The use of prolonged contact lenses is also one of the triggers of this inflammation, especially if contact lenses are contaminated by fungi, bacteria, or parasites. Other bacteria-induced diseases (such as syphilis) or viruses (eg, herpes simplex and zoster virus) that are not treated also have the potential to cause keratitis as one of its complications.
Types and Complications Keratitis
This condition can be categorized into two types, namely non-communicable and contagious keratitis. Non-infectious (eg due to injury) keratitis that can not be handled thoroughly can get worse and develop an infection that can then turn into infectious keratitis.
If it continues to grow progressively worse, keratitis has the potential to trigger a variety of complications and even blindness. Some of the complications that may occur include recurrent or chronic corneal infections, swelling and corneal scarring, corneal festering wounds, decreased temporary or permanent looking ability, and blindness.
Symptoms of Keratitis
The initial and major symptoms of keratitis are red eyes. These symptoms can generally be accompanied by indications:
- The eyes look red.
- Eyes that continue to release tears or dirt.
- The sensation of heat or sore on the eyes, like burning.
- Eyes felt prop.
- Blurry vision.
- Eyelids are difficult to open due to irritation or pain.
- Eye sensitivity to increased light.
Immediately consult your doctor if you feel the symptoms. Handling keratitis done quickly and appropriately will keep you from serious complications.
Risk Factors Keratitis
The use of contact lenses is a major factor that can increase our risk for keratitis. For example, contact lenses are less clean, use is too long, or due to contaminated lens cleaning fluid.
In addition to contact lenses, there are also other factors that can trigger keratitis. Among these are reduced immune systems, for example because they have HIV or live in a humid and warm place, using corticosteroids, and have experienced injury to the cornea.
Diagnosis of Keratitis
In the early stages, your doctor will ask for your symptoms and your medical history. Checking of vision condition and function of eye structure will also be done. Checking the structure of the eye will help the doctor to know the extent of corneal infection and its effect on other parts of the eyeball.
If needed, the doctor will also take a sample of fluid that comes out of the eye for examination in the laboratory. This check is used to determine the underlying cause of keratitis you are experiencing.
Blood tests may also be recommended in patients suspected of having keratitis due to other diseases.
Treatment of Keratitis
The treatment given to each keratitis patient varies. This step is determined by the physician based on the cause, severity, and overall health condition of the patient.
Non-infectious keratitis caused by minor injuries, such as scratched contact lenses, can usually heal itself. But if you are disturbed, your doctor may give you medication and recommend wearing a blindfold until your eye condition improves.
Another case with keratitis caused by infection. This type of keratitis generally requires certain medicines, namely:
- Antiviral drugs to deal with viral inflammation of the cornea.
- Antibiotics to treat keratitis induced by bacterial infections. This type of drug can also be used for parasitic keratitis.
- Antifungal drugs to overcome keratitis due to fungus.
Most of the drugs are in the form of eye drops. However, your doctor will also give you medicines to deal with infections due to viruses, bacteria, and fungi if needed.
Prevention of Keratitis
Keratitis is an avoidable disease. The simple steps we can do include:
- Do not forget to remove contact lenses before you sleep or swim.
- Take care of contact lenses regularly and thoroughly, for example washing hands before cleaning contact lenses, using special sterile cleaning products for contact lenses, and do not clean contact lenses with used liquids.
- Make sure you replace the contact lenses according to the time limit.
- Avoid using corticosteroid eye drops, unless at the physician’s advice.
- Do not forget to wash your hands before you touch the eyes or the surrounding area. Especially if you have wounds caused by herpes virus.