Corneal inflammation or keratitis is a significant cause of ocular morbidity around the world. Fortunately, the majority of the cases are successfully managed with medical therapy, but the failure of therapy does occur, leading to devastating consequences of either losing the vision or the eye. This review attempts to provide current information on most, though not all, aspects of keratitis.
Corneal inflammation may be ulcerative or nonulcerative and may arise because of infectious or noninfectious causes. The nonulcerative corneal inflammation may be confined to the epithelial layer or to the stroma of the cornea or may affect both. For clarity, this section has been divided into nonulcerative superficial keratitis and nonulcerative stromal keratitis. While the former usually includes hypersensitivity responses to microbial toxins and unknown agents, the latter can be either infectious or noninfectious.
In the pathogenesis of ulcerative keratitis, microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, parasites (Acanthamoeba), or viruses play an important role. Approximately, 12.2% of all corneal transplantations are done for active infectious keratitis. Available world literature pertaining to the incidence of microbial keratitis has been provided special place in this review. On the other hand, noninfectious ulcerative keratitis can be related to a variety of systemic or local causes, predominantly of autoimmune origin.