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What is Fungal Keratitis?

Fungal Keratitis is a potentially devastating eye infection caused by fungal organisms (either single cell or multi-cellular fungi). Fungal Keratitis most often results from an injury, such as a scratch on the front surface of the eye, caused by vegetation (plant matter).


As an example, while gardening or hiking the eye is scratched by a twig or leaf; or the eye is rubbed by hands carrying the fungal organisms to the eye. Florists, gardeners, landscapers, outdoor enthusiasts and children playing outdoors have a higher incidence of Fungal Keratitis. Fungal Keratitis

What causes Fungal Keratitis?

  • eye injury (scratch to the eye)
  • topical corticosteriods
  • immune system deficiencies
  • chronic keratits
  • contact lens wear

Fungal Keratitis is a serious type of eye infection caused by fungi (fungal organisms) found on plants, in the soil and in water.


Studies indicate that Fungal Keratitis in on the increase among contact lens wearers here in the U.S. and abroad.

Symptoms of Fungal Keratitis:

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

Treatment of Fungal Keratitis:

  • topical antifungal medication
  • oral antifungal medication
  • debridement of the corneal epithelium (surface of the cornea)
  • surgical intervention, including corneal transplant

In cases of Fungal Keratitis, time if of the essence. Progression of symptoms may begin slowly and then quickly escalate. Early diagnosis and proper treatment is crucial to recovery from Fungal Keratitis.


Approximately 15 to 27% of individuals with Fungal Keratitis require surgical intervention. Even with surgical intervention, not all people will recover lost vision and will be permanently blind or vision impaired.