Bacterial keratitis is an infection of the cornea that is caused by bacteria. It usually affects contact lens wearers, but it can affect anyone. Developing quickly, if left untreated bacterial keratitis can lead to blindness. At Abernethy Owens our focus is on providing  comprehensive eye care  and using the latest technology to ensure the eye health and vision care needs of every patient are met. Here we will explore bacterial keratitis including diagnosis, treatment and prevention. 

Who is Most at Risk of Bacterial Keratitis?

The most common risk factor is contact lens wear, especially overnight wear and inadequate hygiene. 

Other risk factors may include: 

  • A recent eye injury or trauma
  • Contaminated solutions
  • Changes in the corneal surface (from dry eye)

In younger patients, the most common risk factors are generally contact lens wear and eye injury, while in older patients, chronic corneal disease such as dry eyes, surgical trauma, and bullous keratopathy are also key risk factors.

Some Symptoms of Bacterial Keratitis Include:

  • Eye pain (often sudden pain)
  • Eye redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Eye discharge

If you experience any of these symptoms, remove your contact lenses (if you wear them) and make an appointment with your optometrist immediately. Treatment must begin swiftly to prevent vision loss.

How is it Diagnosed?

To diagnose bacterial keratitis, your optometrist will discuss your symptoms and perform an eye examination. The eye exam will include testing your vision and assessing the cornea using a slit lamp microscopy. 

Can it be Prevented?

Wearing contact lenses that your optometrist has prescribed and ensuring you adhere to a proper contact lens care routine will lower your risk of developing a corneal infection. The use of protective eyewear for sports and outdoor activities can help prevent trauma and therefore any subsequent development of infection.

What Are the Treatments Available?

For mild bacterial keratitis, antibacterial eye drops may be used to effectively treat the infection. For a moderate or severe infection, oral antibiotics may be required. If the infection was contact lens related, your optometrist will advise you on whether it is safe to wear contact lenses again.

Bacterial keratitis is a very serious condition. It usually begins suddenly and develops rapidly. If you are experiencing redness and pain in one eye, excessive tears, a discharge or blurry vision, it is important that you immediately contact your optometrist.

For the Optometrist Perth Relies On, Choose Abernethy Owens

Proudly WA owned and operated, we have 5 conveniently located practices throughout Perth. Our Optometrists are here to help with all types of contact lenses, contact lens management and education to help you lower the risk of corneal infections. Book an appointment online with our experienced team today.