An eye infection occurs as harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi invade a particular part of the eye. Some common symptoms of an eye infection include:
- Sensitivity to light
While these symptoms may be similar to the symptoms of eye allergies and dry eyes, the main difference is that eye infections usually only affect one eye.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, or suspect you have an eye infection, contact us to schedule an appointment. Self-diagnosing and home-care treatment without a proper diagnosis from your optometrist can potentially harm your eyes.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough examination to determine what type of eye infection you have and what treatment would be most effective.
Types of Eye Infections
Conjunctivitis - A common affliction also known as "pink eye" that causes irritation, itching and burning of the conjunctiva, which lines the eyelids, and can have many causes, including allergies, viruses and bacterial infections. It is very contagious.
Blepharitis - A common disorder that causes irritation, redness and itchy eyelids. It is not contagious.
Keratitis - A condition affecting the cornea of the eye, causing moderate to severe pain and possible impaired eyesight. Noninfectious Keratitis develops as a result of a minor injury or by wearing your contacts longer than prescribed. Infectious Keratitis occurs by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites.
Sty – A tender, red bump on the eyelid caused by an acute infection or inflammation of the oil gland in the eye. It can grow on the upper and/or lower eyelid and causes tenderness and burning.
Uveitis – A condition that causes the uvea (the middle layer of the eye) to become swollen and irritated. It may affect one or both eyes. If left untreated, your vision may become permanently damaged.
Eye Infection Treatments
Treatments vary depending on whether the eye infection is bacterial or viral. Most bacterial eye infections clear up with the use of a prescription antibiotic eye drops or ointments. Viral infections can have an antiviral eye drop prescribed, but they mostly clear up on their own.
Preventing Eye Infections
There are many ways you can help prevent eye infections, such as:
- Frequently washing your hands
- Using anti-infective sprays and cleaners
- Avoiding contact with a person with a red eye
- Keeping bedding and towels clean
- Avoiding touching your eyes without washing your hands first
If you wear contacts, always wash your hands before handling your contacts, be sure to clean your contact case frequently, and avoid wearing your contacts while sleeping to help prevent an eye infection.