The cornea is the most anterior structure of the eyeball. It has the peculiarity that it is totally transparent because of the particular arrangement of the collagen that forms its structure. Together with the lens, which is also transparent, it is part of the ocular focus system of images directed towards the retina.
The cornea together with the conjunctiva form the so-called ocular surface. Because of this relationship, and in both forming first eyeball envelope, they are often affected jointly and because of multiple causes
The term keratitis means inflammation of the cornea. Because of its proximity to the conjunctiva, we refer to KERATOCONJUNTIVITIS when inflammationaffects both structures.
The most frequent causes are:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Irritations by physical and chemical agents, including ultraviolet radiation and also the use of contact lenses.
- The allergic processes are a very frequent cause as they are the first barrier encountered by the antigens triggers.
- Infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa.
- Other less frequent causes
Almost always these keratinises are superficial, as they affect the outermost layers of the cornea. They affect deep layers less often and when this occurs, tend to be more serious.
With dry eye syndrome, which is very frequent, artificial tears should be used. It is important for people with allergies to avoid contact with triggering factors (pollens, mites, dust).
People who wear contact lenses should always keep them clean and replace them frequently. Sunglasses offer protection from many physical and environmental agents.
Keratinises caused by allergies require an adequate diagnosis and treatment with topical anti-allergic drugs, which are often master formulas.
Herpes viruses and adenoviruses are a very frequent cause of keratitis. Herpes keratitis can be serious and treatment, always directed by a specialist, includes antivirals and anti-inflammatory drugs. Adenoviruses produce striking highly contagious epidemic keratoconjunctivitis and are treated with antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Bacterial keratitis is almost always a consequence of a foreign body or a corneal ulcer. They can be serious and require intensive diagnosis and intensive antibiotic treatment with masterly formulas (strengthened eyewash).
Fungal keratitis and protozoa are uncommon and are usually severe. Amongst these Acanthamoeba keratitis, typical of contact lens wearers, is especially serious and requires highly specialised treatment.