Keratitis vs Conjunctivitis: Understanding the Differences and Symptoms

Rahul Gupta
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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Keratitis vs Conjunctivitis

Keratitis and Conjunctivitis are two eye conditions that can cause redness, irritation, and discomfort. 

While they share some similar symptoms, they are conditions requiring different treatments. 

Each year around 58,000 patients seek medical help for Keratitis. 

Based on a study, the annual incidence of bacterial Conjunctivitis in the United States is 135 cases per 10,000 population.

In this article, we will determine the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Keratitis vs Conjunctivitis, as well as the differences between the two.

Keratitis vs Conjunctivitis

While Keratitis and Conjunctivitis share similar symptoms, they are different conditions affecting other eye parts. 

Here are some of the key differences between the two.

LocationIt affects the cornea.It affects the conjunctiva.
CausesAn infection or injury often causes it.An infection, allergies, or irritants can cause it.
SymptomsIt can cause redness and blurred vision.
Keratitis is often associated with eye pain and sensitivity to light.
It can also cause redness and blurred vision.
Conjunctivitis is often associated with itching and burning sensations in the eye.
TreatmentKeratitis is often treated with antibiotics or antivirals.Conjunctivitis is often treated with antibiotics, antihistamines, or cold or warm compresses.


Keratitis treatmentSource: siniehinaalona

Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea. It is the transparent, dome-shaped outer layer of the eye. 

It can be caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection or by other factors, such as 

  • Injury 
  • Exposure to ultraviolet light 
  • Wearing contact lenses for an extended period 

Some common symptoms of Keratitis include,

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Eye discharge
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Blurred or decreased vision
Depending on the cause of the inflammation, Keratitis can be treated with medications such as antibiotics or antivirals.

In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary.


conjunctivitis or redness in eyeSource: Daniil_Dubov_from_Getty_Images
Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis (Pink eye) is the swelling of the conjunctiva.

The thin, clear tissue covers the eye’s white part and lines the eyelid’s inner side. 

A bacterial or viral infection, allergies, or irritants like smoke or pollution can cause it. 

Some common symptoms of Conjunctivitis include,

  • Redness
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Itchy or burning sensation
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Watery or mucous discharge

Conjunctivitis can be treated with medications such as antibiotics or antihistamines, depending on the cause of the inflammation. 

In some cases, a cold or warm compress can also help reduce the symptoms.

Antibiotic eye dropsApprox. Cost
Besix Eye Drop 0.6% (5ml)$14.90
Azithral Eye Drops 0.1% (3ml)$15.50


Keratitis and Conjunctivitis are two eye conditions with similar symptoms. 

If you experience Keratitis or Conjunctivitis symptoms, seeking medical attention from an eye doctor is essential.

They will help you with accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Remember, early diagnosis is essential in treating the condition. 

If left untreated, the symptoms might lead to severe consequences like chronic corneal inflammation and scarring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Keratitis worse than Conjunctivitis?

Yes, Keratitis is often more severe than Conjunctivitis. While both can cause discomfort, Keratitis and Conjunctivitis are different conditions affecting eye parts. It can lead to vision loss and may require a corneal transplant in severe cases.

Can Conjunctivitis cause Keratitis?

If left untreated, Conjunctivitis can cause inflammation of the cornea, which can then develop into Keratitis. Keratitis is more severe than Conjunctivitis.

What is commonly misdiagnosed as pink eye?

Blepharitis is a common eye condition that is often misdiagnosed as pink eye. It causes inflammation of the eyelids, leading to redness, itching, and irritation. These symptoms can mimic the symptoms of Conjunctivitis.

What are some common causes of Conjunctivitis and Keratitis?

Common causes of Conjunctivitis include bacterial or viral infections, allergies, and irritants. Keratitis can be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, as well as injuries, exposure to ultraviolet light, or extended use of contact lenses.

What is the combination of Conjunctivitis and Keratitis?

The combination of Conjunctivitis and Keratitis is known as “Keratoconjunctivitis.” It is a condition that affects both the cornea and the conjunctiva. Various factors, including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or irritants, can cause it.

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