Microbial keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, the clear lens of the eye, which is caused by a bacteria, virus or fungi. Keratitis can also be caused by injury to the eye or by chronic dry eyes resulting from aging or Sjogren’s syndrome. People who wear contact lenses are at higher risk for developing microbial keratitis than the rest of the population. Studies have shown that people who use daily soft-wear contacts lenses have the highest incidence of microbial keratitis among contact lens wearers. Acanthamoeba keratitis is the most common form of microbial keratitis It is caused by a parasite. Herpes simplex keratitis is caused by a virus. There is no cure for this type of keratitis although antiviral medication may provide some help. The virus that causes Chlamydia is also a culprit in some cases of viral keratitis. A bacterial eye infection can be treated with antibiotic drops and/or oral antibiotics. Fungal keratitis, as well as the other forms, can be contracted through water that is contaminated. The offending microbes can be found in hot tubs, lakes, rivers and oceans. Most people do not get infected from these sources, but if some part of the surface of your eye is even slightly damaged, the microbes can find a place to grow. People with compromised immune systems and those who take immunosuppressive medications are at higher risk for developing keratitis.
Symptoms of microbial keratitis include swelling, the sensation that something is in the eye, light sensitivity, blurred vision, discharge or excess tears coming from the eye, pain and redness in the eye, blurry vision, and problems opening they eye because of irritation and pain. Keratitis should be taken seriously. If microbial keratis goes untreated, painful and damaging ulcers may form in the eye. Untreated keratitis can even lead to blindness.