Fungal Keratitis

An infection of the cornea is called Fungal keratitis; it can develop quickly if an eye injury occurs or from contact lens use. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause blindness.

Fungi that can affect the cornea include: Fusarium, Aspergillus or Candida.

Superficial keratitis affects the outer layers of the cornea. When this form of keratitis heals, there is usually no scar on the cornea.
Deep keratitis; however, affects deeper layers of the cornea and after healing, a scar can remain which may affect your vision.

Besides fungal keratitis, other types of keratitis include:

  • amoebic keratitis: an infection with amoeba, usually affects contact lens wearers.

 bacterial keratitis: an infection with bacteria

  • herpes keratitis: an infection with herpes simplex or herpes zoster viruses
  • photokeratitis: caused by UV exposure.

What causes fungal keratitis?

Fusaria are commonly found in warmer climates or more specifically in soil, water, and plants. Fungal keratitis can appear after an injury to the cornea involving plant matter such as getting hit in the eye with a palm branch.

Proper use and care of contact lenses can reduce the chances of getting a fungal infection if you wear contacts.
People with low functioning immune systems can also develop fungal keratitis if they come in contact with the fungus.

What are the symptoms of fungal keratitis?

Symptoms of fungal keratitis:

  • reduced vision
  • pain in the eye
  • increased light sensitivity
  • tearing
  • discharge from your eye

Contact an ophthalmologist immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms. Immediate treatment may be necessary to prevent possible blindness.


Fungal keratitis is an infection of the cornea. It can arise quickly from an eye injury or contact lens use. If not treated promptly, blindness can occur. Proper use of contact lenses can reduce your risk of getting this infection if contacts form a part of your routine. Treatment of fungal keratitis usually includes medical eye drops and oral medications. If medications are ineffective, you may need surgery, including corneal transplantation. 

How is a fungal keratitis treated?

Your ophthalmologist may take a small sample of material within the eye to test for infection. This will diagnose what type of infection you may have.