Learn About Interstitial Keratitis

What is the definition of Interstitial Keratitis?

Interstitial keratitis is inflammation of the tissue of the cornea, the clear window on the front of the eye. This condition can lead to vision loss.

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What are the alternative names for Interstitial Keratitis?

Keratitis interstitial; Cornea - keratitis

What are the causes of Interstitial Keratitis?

Interstitial keratitis is a serious condition in which blood vessels grow into the cornea. Such growth can cause loss of the normal clearness of the cornea. This condition is often caused by infections.

Syphilis is the most common cause of interstitial keratitis, but rare causes include:

  • Autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis
  • Leprosy
  • Lyme disease
  • Tuberculosis

In the United States, most cases of syphilis are recognized and treated before this eye condition develops.

However, interstitial keratitis accounts for 10% of avoidable blindness in the least developed countries worldwide.

What are the symptoms of Interstitial Keratitis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Eye pain
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
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What are the current treatments for Interstitial Keratitis?

The underlying disease must be treated. Treating the cornea with corticosteroid drops may minimize scarring and help keep the cornea clear.

Once the active inflammation has passed, the cornea is left severely scarred and with abnormal blood vessels. The only way to restore vision at this stage is with a cornea transplant.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Interstitial Keratitis?

Diagnosing and treating interstitial keratitis and its cause early can preserve the clear cornea and good vision.

What are the possible complications of Interstitial Keratitis?

A corneal transplant is not as successful for interstitial keratitis as it is for most other corneal diseases. The presence of blood vessels in the diseased cornea brings white blood cells to the newly transplanted cornea and increases the risk of rejection.

When should I contact a medical professional for Interstitial Keratitis?

People with interstitial keratitis need to be followed closely by an ophthalmologist and a medical specialist with knowledge of the underlying disease.

A person with the condition should be checked immediately if:

  • Pain gets worse
  • Redness increases
  • Vision decreases

This is particularly crucial for people with corneal transplants.

How do I prevent Interstitial Keratitis?

Prevention consists of avoiding the infection that causes interstitial keratitis. If you do get infected, get prompt and thorough treatment and follow-up.

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What are the latest Interstitial Keratitis Clinical Trials?
Topical Infliximab for the Treatment of Sterile Corneal Melt

Summary: Corneal melt is a complication that could affect very ill eyes and lead to the thinning of the cornea (the clear window covering of the eyes). This thinning can lead to severe consequences such as the leakage of the liquid inside the eye (ocular perforation), or even blindness. Corneal melt can be caused by certain infections or as a sterile process. This project only includes patients with a ster...

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Using the Objective Measurement Methods to Evaluate the Association With TCM Pattern and TCM Tongue Diagnosis for Autoimmune Disease and Dry Eye Syndrome

Summary: To explore the association with TCM pattern and TCM tongue diagnosis for Autoimmune disease and Dry eye syndrome.

What are the Latest Advances for Interstitial Keratitis?
Corneal manifestations and treatment among patients with COVID-19-associated rhino-orbito-cerebral mucormycosis.
Fungal keratitis treated with a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine: A case report.
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A case of microsporidial keratitis.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: August 22, 2022
Published By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Cano-Ortiz A, Leiva-Gea I, Ventosa ÁS, et al. Stromal interstitial keratitis in a patient with COVID-19. J Fr Ophtalmol. 2022;45(4):e175-e177. PMID: 35033376 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35033376/.

Dobson SR, Sanchez PJ. Syphilis. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 144.

Gauthier A-S, Noureddine S, Delbosc B. Interstitial keratitis diagnosis and treatment. J Fr Ophtalmol. 2019;42(6):e229-e237. PMID: 31103357 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31103357/.

Salmon JF. Cornea. In: Salmon JF, ed. Kanski's Clinical Ophthalmology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 7.

Vasaiwala RA, Bouchard CS. Noninfectious keratitis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 4.17.

World Health Organization website. Eye care, vision impairment and blindness. www.who.int/health-topics/blindness-and-vision-loss#tab=tab_1. Accessed October 31, 2022.