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Interstitial keratitis - External and Internal Eye
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Interstitial keratitis - External and Internal Eye

Contributors: Brandon D. Ayres MD, Christopher Rapuano MD, Harvey A. Brown MD, Sunir J. Garg MD, Lauren Patty Daskivich MD, MSHS
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Interstitial keratitis (IK) is an inflammatory condition causing inflammation in the corneal and anterior segment of the eye. This inflammation will cause deep corneal neovascularization. Patients with IK tend to present in the first to second decade of life. If it is the first presentation of IK, it will be associated with ocular pain, redness, photophobia, and often reduced vision. Once a patient has suffered from an episode of IK, the scarring and corneal neovascularization will remain. The most common etiology of IK is syphilis. Many times the syphilis is congenital and will affect both eyes (though not always at the same time). If the syphilitic IK is acquired, it is more likely to affect only one eye. Other common conditions causing IK include herpes simplex virus (HSV), herpes zoster, leprosy, Lyme disease, tuberculosis, collagen vascular disease, HLA B-27 associated inflammatory conditions, and Cogan syndrome (hearing loss, IK, and tinnitus).


H16.309 – Unspecified interstitial keratitis, unspecified eye

1763009 – Interstitial keratitis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Uveitis
  • Bacterial corneal ulcer
  • Fungal corneal ulcer
  • Herpes simplex virus keratitis
  • Contact lens solution toxicity
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Limbal stem cell deficiency
  • Diffuse scleritis
  • Diffuse episcleritis
  • Peripheral ulcerative keratitis

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated:04/17/2018
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Interstitial keratitis - External and Internal Eye
A medical illustration showing key findings of Interstitial keratitis : Eye pain, Blurred vision, Photophobia, Corneal diffuse white infiltrate, Corneal focal white infiltrate, Corneal neovascularization, Corneal opacities, Conjunctival injection, Excessive tearing
Clinical image of Interstitial keratitis - imageId=3095395. Click to open in gallery.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.