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What Causes Corneal Infections?


Corneal infections can be caused by many things. Sometimes the cornea is damaged after a foreign object has penetrated the tissue, maybe from a poke in the eye. Bacteria or fungi from a contaminated contact lens can also pass into the cornea. These things can cause painful inflammation and corneal infections called keratitis. Keratitis can reduce visual clarity, produce corneal discharges, and possibly erode the cornea. Corneal infections can also lead to corneal scarring, which can impair vision and may require a corneal transplant.

As a general rule, the deeper the corneal infection, the more severe the symptoms and complications. Most corneal infections, however, generally happen to individuals that wear contact lenses.


Minor corneal infections are commonly treated with anti-bacterial eye drops. If the problem is severe, your doctor may proscribe intensive antibiotic or anti-fungal treatment for the infection as well as steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation. Frequent visits to an eye care professional may be necessary for several months to eliminate the problem.

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