Small, yellow-gray, raised bumps form on the eye.
Common symptoms are redness of the eye, blurred vision, sensitivity to bright light, a sensation of a foreign object trapped in the eye, and sometimes visible flakes of dead skin at the edges of the eyelids.
Doctors diagnose phlyctenular keratoconjunctivitis based on the eye's appearance.
Treatment is with eye drops or eyelid scrubs.
(See also Introduction to Corneal Disorders Introduction to Corneal Disorders The cornea is the clear layer in front of the iris and pupil. It protects the iris and lens and helps focus light on the retina. It is composed of cells, protein, and fluid. The cornea looks... read more .)
An Inside Look at the Eye
Phlyctenular keratoconjunctivitis is not an infection. It is an immune reaction to bacteria that are on or around the eyes. Some of the bacteria that trigger this disorder are staphylococci, and rarely, tuberculosis, and Chlamydia. This disorder is more common among children.
Small, yellow-gray, raised bumps (called phlyctenules) appear at the limbus (the area where the conjunctiva attaches to the cornea), on the cornea, or on the conjunctiva. The bumps last for several days to 2 weeks. On the conjunctiva, these bumps become open sores (ulcers) but heal without a scar. When the cornea is affected, severe tearing, photophobia (pain when light is shined into the eye), blurred vision, aching, and a feeling like a foreign object is in the eye (foreign body sensation) may be noticeable. Many people also have redness of the eye, blurred vision, increased sensitivity to bright light, a sensation of a foreign object trapped in the eye, and sometimes visible flakes of dead skin at the edges of the eyelids (seborrheic blepharitis).
People who have frequent recurrences may develop cloudy corneas, and tiny blood vessels may grow across their corneas. Their vision may become impaired.
A doctor's evaluation of the eyes
The diagnosis of phlyctenular keratoconjunctivitis is based on the typical appearance of the eyes.
Doctors may test some people for tuberculosis.
Corticosteroid/antibiotic eye drops
For seborrheic blepharitis, eyelid scrubs
People who do not have tuberculosis are given eye drops that contain a combination of corticosteroids and antibiotics.
People who have blepharitis caused by the skin condition seborrheic dermatitis Seborrheic Dermatitis Seborrheic dermatitis is chronic inflammation that causes yellow, greasy scales and dandruff to form on areas of the skin that have a high number of oil glands such as the scalp and face, along... read more (seborrheic blepharitis) can gently scrub the edges of the eyelids to help prevent the disorder from coming back (see Treatment of Blepharitis Treatment Blepharitis is inflammation of the edges of the eyelids, possibly with thickening scales, crusts, shallow ulcers, or redness and swelling at the edges of the eyelids. The inflammation is caused... read more ).