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What is Filamentary Keratitis?

Filamentary Keratitis is a type of keratitis which is usually superficial and most commonly related to dry eye syndrome. Filamentary Keratitis is typically a chronic (recurring) corneal condition. In cases of dry eye syndrome, the outer most layer of the corneal cells may die and form attached filaments to the cornea. This condition is known at Filamentary Keratitis. In more severe cases, deeper layers of the cornea are affected and scarring can occur during the healing process. This will affect vision if the central area of the cornea is involved.

What causes Filamentary Keratitis?Filamentary Keratitis

Filamentary Keratitis is the result of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome can be caused by many factors, such as:

  • use of medications such as corticosteroids, antihistimines, and others
  • certain systemic diseases
  • chemotherapy
  • diseases affecting the immune system
  • age
  • hormones
  • environmental factors

Filamentary Keratitis can be caused by or worsened by contact lens wear, surgical procedures such as cataract surgery or corneal graft surgery.

Symptoms of Filamentary Keratitis:

  • pain, ranging from mild to severe
  • light sensitivity
  • foreign body sensation (feels like something is in the eye)
  • gritty, scratchy sensation
  • eyes may appear red 

Filamentary Keratitis is often a recurrent condition, meaning once treated it often returns. Individuals with Filamentary Keratitis are usually under continuing care with their eye doctor to manage symptoms and reduce the severity of those symptoms. Treatment is to control the frequency and severity of recurrences.


Treatment of Filamentary Keratitis:

  • use of preservative-free lubricating eye drops
  • use of preservative-free lubricating eye ointment
  • topical anti-inflammatory eye drops
  • punctal plugs
  • removal of the filaments