Superficial keratitis involves the superficial layers of the cornea. After healing, this form of keratitis does not generally leave a scar.
Deep keratitis involves deeper layers of the cornea, and the natural course leaves a scar upon healing that impairs vision if on or near the visual axis. This can be reduced or avoided with the use of topical corticosteroid eyedrops.
- Amoebic keratitis. Amoebic infection of the cornea is the most serious corneal infection, usually affecting contact lens wearers. It is usually caused by Acanthamoeba. On May 25, 2007, the CDC issued a health advisory due to increased risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) associated with use of Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose eye solution. See CDC Advisory
- Bacterial keratitis. Bacterial infection of the cornea can follow from an injury or from wearing contact lenses. The bacteriums usually involved are Staphylococcus aureus and for contact lens wearers Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Fungal keratitis (cf. Fusarium, causing recent incidences of keratitis through the possible vector of Bausch & Lomb ReNu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution)
- Viral keratitis
- Onchocercal keratitis—for which reason onchocerciasis is also named "river blindness"
- Exposure keratitis
- Photokeratitis - keratitis due to intense ultraviolet radiation exposure (e.g. snow blindness or welder's arc eye.)
- Ulcerative keratitis
- Contact lens acute red eye (CLARE) - a non-ulcerative sterile keratitis associated with colonization of Gram-negative bacteria on contact lenses
- Severe allergic response may lead to corneal inflammation and ulceration (i.e. vernal keratoconjunctivitis).
- Feline eosinophilic keratitis - affecting cats and horses; possibly initiated by feline herpesvirus 1 or other viral infection.
Effective diagnosis is important in detecting this condition and subsequent treatment as keratitis is sometimes mistaken for an allergicconjunctivitis.
Treatment depends on the cause of the keratitis. Infectious keratitis generally requires antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral therapy to treat the infection. This treatment can involve prescription eye drops, pills, or even intravenous therapy. Over-the-counter eye drops are typically not helpful in treating infections. In addition, contact lens wearers are typically advised to discontinue contact lens wear and discard contaminated contact lenses and contact lens cases.
Antibacterial solutions include Quixin (levofloxacin), Zymar (gatifloxacin), Vigamox (moxifloxacin), Ocuflox (ofloxacin — available generically). Steroid containing medications should not be used for bacterial infections, as they may exacerbate the disease and lead to severe corneal ulceration and corneal perforation. These include Maxitrol (neomycin+polymyxin+dexamethasone — available generically), as well as other steroid medications.. One should consult an ophthalmologist for treatment of an eye condition.
Some infections may scar the cornea to limit vision. Others may result in perforation of the cornea, (an infection inside the eye), or even loss of the eye. With proper medical attention, infections can usually be successfully treated without long-term visual loss.