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Cornea: Fungal Infection

(En español, presione aquí)

 What is a fungal infection of the cornea?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of my child?
 How can I help prevent fungal keratitis?

What is a fungal infection of the cornea?

Fungal keratitis is an infection of the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye. The infection is caused by fungus. It can cause a sore called a corneal ulcer. The ulcer can cause swelling and cloudiness of the cornea and a decrease in your child’s vision. If not treated right away, fungal keratitis can cause blindness.

What is the cause?

Fungus includes things like yeast, mold, and mildew. A fungus can live in air, in soil, on plants, and in water. Some live on or in the human body. Fungus cannot usually infect a healthy cornea. However, anything that causes a break or scratch in the cornea can lead to a fungal infection, such as:

A fungal infection of the cornea is more likely if your child has conditions that can weaken the cornea or weaken his ability to fight off infection, such as:

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

How is it diagnosed?

Your eye care provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and do exams and tests such as:

How is it treated?

Your child’s healthcare provider will prescribe eye drops to treat a fungal infection. Your child may need to use these eye drops every couple of hours, even during the night. Your child may also need to take antifungal pills by mouth.

Fungal keratitis can lead to a permanent scar on the cornea. If this scar limits your child’s vision, your provider may treat it with a contact lens, laser treatment, or surgery.

How can I take care of my child?

Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Ask your child’s healthcare provider:

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent fungal keratitis?

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/wilmer/

healthinformatics info

References

Krachmer JH, Mannis MJ and Holland EJ, eds. Cornea, 3rd edition. Philadelphia: Mosby, 2010; v.1-2.



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Last Modified: 2013-12-05

Last Reviewed: 2013-12-05

Website Updated: October 2014

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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


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