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Treatment

Treatment of keratitis depends upon the cause. If there is mild injury to the cornea, such as a scratched cornea, no specific treatment is necessary. An antibiotic ointment might be prescribed. This is done mostly for comfort.

If the keratitis is caused by herpes simplex or the herpes zoster virus that causes shingles, your doctor will prescribe antiviral eye drops or an antiviral oral medication or both. Bacterial keratitis needs to be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the infection, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed along with an antibiotic ointment or eye drops.

Artificial tears for lubrication usually are effective for keratitis related to ocular dryness. Keratitis caused by an autoimmune disease is often treated with topical corticosteroid eye drops. Also treating the underlying disease helps the keratitis heal with less chance of recurrence.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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