Fungal Keratitis Explained

Fungal Keratitis Explained

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Fungal keratitis is a serious eye infection that affects the cornea, the transparent layer in front of the eye. This condition can lead to vision loss if not treated promptly and effectively.

Symptoms of Fungal Keratitis

Fungal keratitis often presents with symptoms such as redness, eye pain, blurred vision, and excessive tearing. Some individuals may also experience the sensation of having a foreign object in the eye. These symptoms can vary in severity depending on the extent of the infection and the specific type of fungus involved.

Causes and Risk Factors

Fungal keratitis is typically caused by fungal organisms such as Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Candida. These fungi can enter the eye through various means, including contact lens wear or exposure to contaminated water or soil. Trauma to the cornea from vegetable matter such as a tree branch can also cause fungal keratitis. Individuals who have compromised immune systems or pre-existing eye conditions may be at higher risk of developing fungal keratitis.

Fungal Keratitis Explained

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Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing fungal keratitis involves a comprehensive eye examination, including a thorough medical history review. A feathery white opacity on the cornea is a characteristic sign, and your doctor may confirm the diagnosis with laboratory tests such as corneal cultures. Treatment often involves antifungal medications, either in the form of eye drops, ointments, or oral medications, depending on the severity of the infection. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove damaged tissue or corneal transplantation to restore vision.

Preventive Measures

Preventing fungal keratitis involves practicing good eye hygiene, such as washing hands before handling contact lenses, avoiding sleeping or swimming with contact lenses, and replacing contact lens cases regularly. Wearing sunglasses or safety glasses can protect the eye during outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and gardening.

Fungal Keratitis Explained

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Fungal keratitis is a potentially sight-threatening condition that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. By recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes and risk factors, and protecting your eyes with active eyewear, you can help protect your eye health and reduce the risk of developing this serious infection.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.