Last reviewed 01/2018

It is a nonsuppurative inflammation of the corneal stroma (1).

Interstitial keratitis is one of the late stigmas of congenital syphilis, although milder forms occasionally occur in acquired syphilis, tuberculosis and leprosy (1).

May occur at any stage of syphilis (2)

Also associated with herpes, Cogan syndrome, parasitic and autoimmune diseases(1).

Treatment is palliative until the disease has run its course:

  • corticosteroids reduce the intensity of oedema and vascularisation
  • atropine is used to treat any accompanying iritis to prevent posterior synechiae
  • anti-syphilitic therapy is often given as a prophylactic against gummatous lesions


  1. Kiss S et al. Ocular manifestations and treatment of syphilis. Semin Ophthalmol. 2005 Jul-Sep;20(3):161-7.