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.
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.
In this Article
- What is keratitis?
- What are the causes of keratitis?
- What are the different types of keratitis?
- What are the risk factors for keratitis?
- What are symptoms and signs of keratitis?
- How is keratitis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for keratitis?
- What are the possible complications of keratitis?
- Can keratitis be prevented?
- Keratitis At A Glance
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What are the risk factors for keratitis?
Major risk factors for the development of keratitis include any break or disruption of the surface layer (epithelium) of the cornea.
The use of contact lenses increases the risk for the development of keratitis, especially if when poor hygiene, improper solutions, or overwear are associated with contact-lens use.
A decrease in the quality or quantity of tears predisposes the eye to the development of keratitis.
Disturbances of immune function through diseases such as AIDS or the use of medications such as corticosteroids or chemotherapy also increase the risk of developing keratitis.
What are keratitis symptoms and signs?
The symptoms of keratitis usually include pain, tearing, and blurring of vision. The pain may be mild to severe, depending on the cause and extent of the inflammation. Sensitivity to light may also be present. To the observer, the eye may appear red, watery, and if the cornea has extensive keratitis, the normally clear cornea may look gray or have white to gray areas.
How is keratitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of keratitis is made by an ophthalmologist (a physician who specializes in diseases and surgery of the eye) through a history and a physical examination. The history consists of questions documenting a past medical and ocular history and the symptoms specific to the current visit. The eye examination will consist of checking your vision and careful inspection of the corneas using a slit lamp, which is a microscope with excellent illumination and magnification to view the ocular surface and the cornea in detail. Special dye in the form of eyedrops may be placed in the eyes to assist with the examination.
In cases in which infection is suspected, a culture may be taken from the surface of the eye for specific identification of the bacteria, virus, fungus, or parasite causing the keratitis. Blood tests may also be done in certain patients with suspected underlying disease.
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