Keratitis - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment- Herpes Simplex Keratitis
What is keratitis?
Inflammation of the cornea (keratitis) may be acute or chronic, superficial or deep. Superficial keratitis is fairly common and may develop at any age. The prognosis is good with treatment. Untreated, recurrent keratitis may lead to blindness.
Causes of keratitis
Keratitis may result from exposure (such as in Bell's palsy where the eyelids don't close). It may also result from infection by herpes simplex virus, type 1 (known as dendritic keratitis because of a characteristic branched lesion of the cornea resembling the veins of a leaf). Less commonly, it stems from bacterial and fungal infections and, rarely, from congenital syphilis.
Signs and symptoms of keratitis
Unilateral keratitis may produce mild irritation, tearing, and photophobia. If the infection is in the center of the cornea, it may produce blurred vision. Left untreated, corneal opacities can occur. When keratitis results from exposure, it usually affects the lower portion of the cornea.
Herpes simplex keratitis
A major cause of adult eye disease, herpes simplex keratitis may lead to:
A slit-lamp examination reveals the depth of the keratitis. If keratitis is due to herpes simplex virus, staining the eye with a fluorescein strip produces one or more small branch like (dendritic) lesions; touching the cornea with cotton reveals reduced corneal sensation. Vision testing may show slightly decreased acuity. The patient history may reveal a recent infection of the upper respiratory tract accompanied by cold sores.
Home remedies for the treatment of keratitis
If the problem is more severe, a person may receive more intensive antibiotic treatment as under to eliminate the infection :-
In acute keratitis due to herpes simplex virus, treatment consists of trifluridine eye drops or vidarabine ointment. A broad-spectrum antibiotic may prevent secondary bacterial infection.
Chronic dendritic keratitis may respond more quickly to vidarabine. Long-term topical therapy may be necessary. (Corticosteroid therapy is contraindicated in dendritic keratitis or any other viral or fungal disease of the cornea.) Treatment for fungal keratitis consists of natamycin.
Keratitis due to exposure requires application of moisturizing ointment to the exposed cornea and of a plastic bubble eye shield or eye patch. Treatment for severe corneal scarring may include keratoplasty (cornea transplantation).
Prevention and special considerations tips
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