Eye problems with IBD: Keratopathy in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

What is keratopathy?

Keratopathy is a rare eye manifestation which can occur in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is disease of the cornea which usually presents as grey dots (infiltrates). It is not known exactly how these infiltrates form. It usually occurs in people who have already been diagnosed with IBD, though in some cases they will be diagnosed with keratopathy and later discover they have IBD too.

Keratopathy can occur on its own or as a secondary manifestation of another condition such as scleritis. It often occurs symmetrically in both eyes, although can just occur in one.

What are the symptoms of keratopathy?

  • Eye pain
  • Sensation of a foreign body in your eye
  • Irritation
  • Very occasionally people experience decreased vision


How is keratopathy diagnosed?

If you notice any changes in your eyes then it is important you see a doctor or eye specialist. A special microscope and light (slit lamp) is used to look into the eye. If they can see white deposits at the edge of the cornea this indicates the most common type of keratopathy.

What is the treatment for keratopathy?

Keratopathy doesn’t usually cause vision loss and often resolves on its own. If treatment is required then focus is often placed on controlling the person’s IBD.

Learn about other eye manifestations in IBD...


Ocular Complications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Rana Mady, Will Grover, and Salim Butrus; The Scientific World Journal; Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 438402

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