A recent study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology has highlighted a concerning trend in rising cases of pediatric keratitis, particularly associated with contact lens wear.

The study aimed to analyze the incidence and clinical characteristics of pediatric keratitis over a 10-year period within a specific population.

This multicenter study focused on patients under the age of 19 who were diagnosed with keratitis while residing in Olmsted County between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2009. The researchers examined various factors such as age, gender, and visual acuity to gather comprehensive data.

The findings revealed a total of 294 cases of keratitis in 285 children during the study period. This equated to an incidence rate of 78.0 per 100,000 children under 19 years old. In other words, approximately 1 in every 1,282 children was affected. Notably, the incidence rate showed an upward trend throughout the 10-year period.

The average age at diagnosis was 15.3 years, with females accounting for 60.4% of the cases. The study identified different forms of keratitis, including contact lens-related keratitis in 45.6% of cases, infectious keratitis in 24.5%, unspecified keratitis in 22.1%, and keratitis sicca in 7.8%. Initial examination revealed reduced visual acuity (≤20/40) in 21.4% of patients, while the final examination showed a decrease in visual acuity for 8.4% of patients. Interestingly, children with infectious keratitis had the poorest initial vision but showed the most improvement in their final vision, while the opposite was observed for those with keratitis sicca.

Overall, this population-based cohort study found that approximately 1 in every 1,300 children would experience keratitis by the age of 19, regardless of the cause. However, nearly half of the cases were associated with contact lens wear, and about 1 in every 12 patients experienced a decrease in visual acuity to ≤20/40.


Tanke LB, Kim EJ, Butterfield SD, et al. Incidence and clinical characteristics of paediatric keratitis. British Journal of Ophthalmology 2023;107:1253-1257.


Rising, case, pediatric, keratitis, largely, associated, contact, lens, wear, British Journal of Ophthalmology, Tanke LB, Kim EJ, Butterfield SD

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