Eye ailments caused by bacterial, viral or other microbial agents are known as eye infection. These agents invade the eyeball, cornea or the conjunctiva and cause infection of the eyes.
What are the Symptoms of Eye Infection?
The symptoms presented by the patient suffering from an eye infection are. Redness and pain in the eyes, eye discharge, watery eyes, blurry vision, itching in the eyes, swelling around eyes, light sensitivity and dry eyes.
What are the Most Common Eye Infections?
There are different types of commonly occurring eye infections. Therefore, it is important to get the eye infection diagnosed by the doctor for appropriate treatment.
6 Common Eye Infections
- Conjunctivitis. Also commonly known as ‘pink eye’, conjunctivitis is a highly contagious eye infection. Conjunctivitis easily spreads from person to person working in close quarters and in children. Conjunctivitis has bacterial and viral origins. Infants get conjunctivitis from the mother during birth, if she has sexually transmitted disease (gonococcal and chlamydial conjunctivitis).
- Ocular Herpes. Ocular herpes is another type of viral eye infection, which occurs upon exposure to the herpes simplex virus.
- Fungal Keratitis. This is a type of fungal eye infection associated with Fusarium fungi, commonly found in organic matter. This fungus can invade through a penetrating injury caused by a tree branch to the eye.
- Acanthamoeba Keratitis. This is the most common eye infection found in contact lens wearers. People who wear contact lens are at an increased risk of encountering parasites that can invade the eye and cause eye infection. This is the reason why people who wear contact lens should be careful and avoid wearing lens while swimming or relaxing in a hot tub to prevent this particular eye infection, which is Acanthamoeba Keratitis. Proper contact lens care routine should be followed to avoid unnecessary fungal, bacterial or parasite infection of the eyes.
- Trachoma. Trachoma is an eye infection, which is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. In certain underdeveloped countries, this eye infection, i.e. Chlamydia trachomatis, is a leading cause for blindness. The common carriers of this eye infection are the flies present in an unsanitary environment. Trachoma scars the inner eyelids, which cause them to turn inwards. The lashes of the in-turned eyelid continuously brush the cornea, destroying the tissue on it. This leads to permanent blindness.
- Endophthalmitis. An infection, which penetrates to the interior of the eye, is termed as bacterial endophthalmitis. It can occur from a penetrating eye injury, which can be a complication of eye surgery.
How to Get Rid of an Eye Infection?
Eye infection caused by virus generally gets cured on their own and has no specific treatment. A viral eye infection subsides on its own after running its course, which is usually 4 to 7 days. Medicines can be taken to alleviate the symptoms of viral eye infection.
The bacterial eye infections are treated or can be gotten rid of by using antibiotic eye drops, pills or ointments.
The allergic eye infections improve once the allergens are removed. Antihistamines give relief from the symptoms of allergic eye infection.
The symptoms of the eye infection can be eased by applying cold or warm compress to the eye. Make sure you use a different washcloth for each eye and change it each time you use it. Make sure you gently clean the eye by inside to outside movements.
How to Prevent Spreading of Eye Infections?
- A few hygiene measures can be adopted to prevent the spread of eye infection.
- Wash your hands after applying medication to the affected eye to prevent the spreading of eye infection.
- Do not share a towel or handkerchief with anyone.
- Avoid touching the eye area frequently to prevent eye infection.
- Throw away the tissue after using it to wipe the affected eye.
- Change towels and linens daily to prevent eye infection.
- Disinfect the doorknobs, sink and countertops to prevent eye infection.
- Throw away all the make-up used during the time of eye infection.
- Wear sunglasses when going out in sun.
An eye is a delicate organ and should be well taken care of. If any soreness, pain or discharge is felt in the eye and is not improving, then it is important to get consulted by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
- Mayo Clinic. Eye Infection (Conjunctivitis). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pink-eye/symptoms-causes/syc-20376355
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eye Infections. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-eye-infections
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parasites – Acanthamoeba Keratitis. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/acanthamoeba/index.html
- World Health Organization. Trachoma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/trachoma
- American Society of Retina Specialists. Endophthalmitis. https://www.asrs.org/patients/retinal-diseases/19/endophthalmitis
- National Eye Institute. Facts About Pink Eye. https://nei.nih.gov/health/pinkeye/pink_facts