Children's Health and Wellness

Keratitis

What is keratitis?

Keratitis is an inflammation or infection of the cornea of the eye. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. Keratitis is a medical emergency because extensive involvement may lead to blindness.

What causes keratitis?

There are many different causes of keratitis. The following are some of the more common causes:

  • Bacteria

  • Vitamin A deficiencies

  • Viruses

  • Trauma (usually following insertion of an object into the eye)

  • Fungi

  • Parasites

What are the symptoms of keratitis?

The following are the most common symptoms of keratitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and redness in the eye

  • Discomfort when the child looks at a light (photophobia)

  • Tearing, watery eyes, or discharge

  • Blurry vision

  • Feeling as if something is in the eye

The symptoms of keratitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is keratitis diagnosed?

Keratitis is usually diagnosed based on a complete medical history and physical examination of your child. Cultures of the eye drainage are usually not required, but may be done to confirm the cause of the infection.

Treatment for keratitis

Specific treatment for keratitis will be determined by your child's health care provider based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

  • The extent of the disease

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

Your child may be referred to an ophthalmologist or optometrist (eye care specialists) for treatment of this problem.

Online Source: American Academy of Ophthalmologyhttp://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/keratitis.cfm
Online Source: American Academy of Ophthalmologyhttp://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/keratitis-causes.cfm
Online Source: American Academy of Ophthalmologyhttp://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/keratitis-symptoms.cfm
Online Source: Photokeratitis, UpToDatehttp://www.update.com
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J., OD, FAAO
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/22/2013
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