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Infectious Keratitis

Infectious Keratitis​

At Insight Eye Clinic, we understand the distressing symptoms and potential complications associated with corneal ulcers. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing prompt diagnosis and effective treatment to alleviate discomfort and prevent vision loss. With specialized expertise in managing corneal conditions, we offer comprehensive care tailored to each patient’s unique needs, ensuring optimal outcomes and restoring clarity to your vision.

Causes of Corneal Ulcer
Most cases of corneal ulcer are due to a bacterial infection that invades the cornea — often following an eye injury, trauma or other damage.

A corneal ulcer can result from an infection following damage from an eye injury or irritation from an ill-fitting or dirty contact lens. Other causes are fungi, parasites, very dry eyes and eye allergies.

Contact lens wearers particularly are susceptible to eye irritation that can lead to a corneal ulcer. If you are a contact lens wearer, you can increase your chances of avoiding a corneal ulcer by practicing good hygiene such as washing your hands before handling lenses and following other safety tips.
Besides bacterial infection, other causes of corneal ulcers are fungi and parasites,

  • Fusarium. These fungi have been associated with fungal keratitis outbreaks among contact lens wearers who used a certain type of contact lens solution.
  • Acanthamoeba. These common parasites can enter the eye and cause Acanthamoeba keratitis a very serious eye infection that can result in permanent scarring of the cornea and vision loss. Acanthamoeba microorganisms are commonly found in tap water, swimming pools, hot tubs and other water sources.

Contact lens wearers who fail to remove their lenses before swimming significantly increase their risk for a corneal ulcer from Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Another cause of corneal ulcer is herpes simplex virus infection which can damage exterior and sometimes even deeper layers of the eye’s surface.

Other underlying causes of corneal ulcers are severely dry eyes, eye allergies and widespread general infection. Immune system disorders and inflammatory diseases.

Evaluation and Treatment of Corneal Ulcers

  • Untreated corneal ulcers can lead to severe vision loss and even loss of the eye.
  • If your doctor suspects that bacteria are the cause of your corneal ulcer, usually treatment includes frequent application of topical antibiotics, with or without initial culture sensitivity.
  • The location and size of the ulceration will guide your eye doctor in determining the need for cultures. If the ulceration is in the central cornea, the condition usually takes longer to go away, and vision may be reduced permanently due to scarring. Unfortunately, permanent damage and vision loss may occur even if the condition is identified and treated early.
  • If you have experienced trauma to the eye, your doctor may suspect ulceration from fungal keratitis, particularly when your eye has encountered organic matter such as from a tree branch.
  • Your doctor would diagnose fungal keratitis only with microscopic evaluation of specially stained specimens or cultures. He or she would administer anti-fungal agents, sometimes both topically to the eye and orally, depending on the severity of the ulceration. The prognosis for good vision depends on the extent of infection.

    Even if detected early and managed properly, some cases of corneal ulcers will require a cornea transplant, penetrating keratoplasty.

  • People who seek medical help early are less likely to have permanent eye damage from fungal eye infections.

If you suspect you have a fungal eye infection, see your eye doctor immediately. Symptoms of fungal keratitis eye infection include:

  • Eye irritation, eye discharge swelling pain, tearing and/or red eyes.
  • Clouding of the eye’s surface.
  • Blurring and vision loss.
  • Light sensitivity.

People who seek medical help early are less likely to have permanent eye damage from fungal eye infections.
Here are a few tips recommended to reduce your risk of contact lens-related eye infections, including fungal keratitis:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses.
  • Rinse your contact lens storage case with fresh contact lens solution and let it air dry between uses.
  • Replace your contact lens storage case every three months, or as recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Never “top off” old contact lens solution with new solution. Throw away the old solution completely, clean the contact lens case and use fresh solution.
  • Wear contact lenses only according to schedules outlined by your eye doctor and contact lens manufacturer.