#TIPOFF: Four Ways to Prevent Keratitis

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Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea – the clear, dome-shaped tissue on the front of your eye that covers the pupil and iris. Keratitis may or may not be associated with an infection. Noninfectious keratitis can be caused by a relatively minor injury, by wearing your contact lenses too long or by a foreign body in the eye. Infectious keratitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

Signs and symptoms of keratitis include:

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  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Excess tears or other discharge from your eye
  • Difficulty opening your eyelid because of pain or irritation
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased vision
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)

Causes of keratitis include:

  • Injury
  • Viruses
  • Contaminated contact lenses
  • Bacteria

Risk factors: Factors that may increase your risk of keratitis include:

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– Contact lenses.Wearing contact lenses — especially sleeping in the lenses —increases your risk of both infectious and noninfectious keratitis. The risk typically stems from wearing them longer than recommended, improper disinfection or wearing contact lenses while swimming. Keratitis is more common in people who use extended-wear contacts, or wear contacts continuously, than in those who use daily wear contacts and take them out at night.

– Reduced immunity.If your immune system is compromised due to disease or medications, you’re at higher risk of developing keratitis.

 Use of corticosteroid eyedrops to treat an eye disorder can increase your risk of developing infectious keratitis or worsen existing keratitis.

– Eye injury.If one of your corneas has been damaged from an injury in the past, you may be more vulnerable to developing keratitis.

Prevention:

1. Don’t sleep in lenses you’re supposed to take out every day.

2. Don’t swim or shower in your contacts.

3. Wash your hands before touching your contacts or your eyes.

4. Always use fresh solution to clean and store your lenses

 

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