Keratitis is an inflammation of your eye’s cornea — the clear, dome-shaped tissue on the front of your eye that covers the pupil and iris. Symptoms include redness, difficulty opening your eyes due to pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, increased production of tears or other discharges, and the feeling that something is stuck in your eye (i.e. pain).

There are two main types of keratitis: infectious and noninfectious. While infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites can cause keratitis, noninfectious keratitis can be caused by eye injuries, prolonged wearing of contact lenses, or exposure to irritants (chemicals or UV light, for example).

Some groups are at increased risk of contracting keratitis. Those with reduced immunity, individuals living in warm climates, those that wear contact lenses, and anyone currently using corticosteroid eye drops.

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, make an appointment to see a doctor immediately. Delays in diagnosis and treatment of keratitis can lead to significant problems with your vision, including even blindness. Depending on which type of keratitis you are diagnosed with and its severity, treatment could include antibiotics, steroids, and antiviral medication.

Like most common eye disorders, early diagnosis is the best way to avoid loss of vision.

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