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Bacterial Keratitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Gina Walters
Published

LAST UPDATED:

bacterial keratitis

Bacterial Keratitis is the infection of the cornea caused by bacteria. 

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped window covering your iris and pupil at the front of your eye. 

The two most common bacteria that cause Bacterial Keratitis are Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The symptoms of Bacterial Keratitis include pain, photosensitivity, liquid discharge from the eye, and blurred vision.

Bacterial Keratitis is a highly progressive disease that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

This article will discover the symptoms, causes, and treatment options of Bacterial Keratitis.

What is Bacterial Keratitis

Bacterial Keratitis is the most common type of Keratitis, characterized by the inflammation of the cornea brought on by bacteria.

Depending on which part of the cornea is infected, there are two forms of Bacterial Keratitis: Superficial Keratitis and Deep Keratitis.

Superficial Keratitis affects the outer layers of the cornea and often resolves without leaving a scar.

Deep Keratitis, which affects the cornea’s deeper layers and, after healing, may leave a scar. 

Sometimes, this might cause visual loss that is irreversible.

Also, there are distinct stages for Bacterial Keratitis, ranging from infection to recovery. 

These include the growing infiltration stage, the ulcer development stage, the regression stage, and the healing stage.

Fact:
An estimated 71,000 Americans suffer from Bacterial Keratitis every year.
This is due to the increasing prevalence of contact lens wearers, which raises the likelihood of developing the condition.

Several factors can lead to Keratitis. Read our article: Keratitis Causes to learn more about the causes of Keratitis.     

What are the symptoms of Bacterial Keratitis

Blurry visionSource: zoranm_from_Getty_Images
Blurry vision

Affected individuals may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sudden pain in the eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased responsiveness to light
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Watery discharge from the eyes

Keratitis can also be brought on by fungus. Read our article: Fungal Keratitis to know more.

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  • What causes Bacterial Keratitis

    Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria may enter the corneal stroma through a gap in the corneal epithelium or tear film and cause an infection.

    Contact lens wearers are more susceptible to developing Bacterial Keratitis than others.

    Other risk factors of Bacterial Keratitis include

    • A recent eye injury
    • Corneal refractive surgery
    • Impaired immune system
    • Disorders of the corneal tissue, such as Neurotrophic Keratopathy
    • Irregular eyelids
    • Abnormal tearing
    • Dry eyes
    • Immunosuppressive medications
    • Trauma or damage to the cornea
    Warning:
    Bacterial Keratitis needs to be addressed immediately because, if left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss.

    How to treat Bacterial Keratitis

    Use artificial tears eyedropSource: Denisfilm_From_Getty_Images
    Use artificial tears eye drop

    Since Bacterial Keratitis progresses quickly, treatment for the condition must be received promptly to minimize the risk of irreversible eye damage. 

    In extreme cases, Bacterial Keratitis might result in blindness if treatment is not received. 

    The virulent bacteria can completely destroy the cornea within 24 to 48 hours.

    An ophthalmologist would often analyze a sample of material scraped from the eye to confirm the diagnosis of Bacterial Keratitis.

    The treatment plan is based on the types of pathogenic organisms and the severity of the condition. 

    Antibiotic eye drops are usually employed to treat Bacterial Keratitis. 

    These include the Fluoroquinolone eye drops, such as Tobramycin, Doxycycline, Vancomycin, and Ciprofloxacin or Moxifloxacin. 

    It is essential to follow up to determine the impact of antibiotics. 

    Adding another antibiotic is usually suggested if the first one does not relieve the symptoms. 

    It is recommended to reduce the dosage of the antibiotics after the condition starts to improve.

    However, if the infection impacts the center of the cornea, a corneal transplant is done to protect your vision.

    Keratitis can be managed effectively with early diagnosis and a proper treatment plan. Read our article: Exploring Keratitis Treatment Options to learn more about Keratitis treatment options.

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    Conclusion

    Bacterial Keratitis is an eye condition affecting the cornea of the eye.

    It is caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.

    Bacterial Keratitis can lead to blurred vision and redness in the eyes.

    The condition is more prone in individuals wearing contact lenses.

    However, it can also be brought on by corneal injury and dry eyes.

    Effective, timely treatment is required because Bacterial Keratitis can lead to blindness if not addressed on time.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long does Bacterial Keratitis last?

    Usually, Bacterial Keratitis goes on its own for some time.
    After appropriate treatment, it takes around 24-48 hours to overcome the pain caused by the infection.

    How do you treat Bacterial Keratitis?

    Antibacterials are the most effective first line of treatment for Bacterial Keratitis. 
    Along with antibacterials, cycloplegics, antiglaucoma medications, and oral anti-inflammatory medications are also helpful in treating Bacterial Keratitis.

    What causes Bacterial Keratitis?

    Bacterial Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea caused by bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

    What medicine to use with Bacterial Keratitis?

    Topical antibiotics, including Cephalosporins, Aminoglycosides, Glycopeptides, and systemic antibiotics like Cycloplegics Antiglaucoma medications, are the most commonly employed medicines to treat Bacterial Keratitis.

    What are the two most common bacteria for Bacterial Keratitis?

    Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus are the two most common bacteria leading to Bacterial Keratitis.

    Citations:
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