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noun. an inflammation and swelling of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye

Keratitis may or may not be associated with an infection.

Noninfectious keratitis

Noninfectious keratitis can be caused by an eye injury, by wearing contact lenses too long or by a foreign body in the eye.

Infectious keratitis

Infectious keratitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.


Keratitis can be associated with other eye conditions such as conjunctivitis (pink eye). Keratitis can cause pain, redness and blurred vision. If left untreated or if an infection is severe, keratitis can lead to serious complications that may permanently damage your vision

Wearing contact lenses increases the risk of developing infectious and noninfectious keratitis, especially if slept in them. Do not wear contact lenses longer than recommended by a doctor of optometry. Follow the cleaning regimen and do not wear contact lenses while swimming, as the chemicals and microbes in the water can cause keratitis.

  • Eye Injury—mechanical (scratch) or chemical (fumes or liquids splashed in the eye).

  • Dry eyes.

  • Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, also called snow blindness.

  • Bacteria.

  • Viruses, most commonly Herpes Simplex.

  • Fungus.

  • Allergies.

  • Conditions and medications that cause a reduced immune system.

Symptoms of keratitis can include:

  • Redness

  • Pain

  • Excessive tearing

  • Blurred vision

  • Light sensitivity

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