Usually caused by bacteria, fungal or viral factors, eye infections can be a serious problem. There are various types that have different causes and require specific treatments. The severity of eye infections ranges from itchiness and pain to contagiousness and permanent damage. If you experience unusual feelings or notice your eyes swelling or turning red, you may have an infection. Like many people, you may first turn to online resources to understand what is happening. However, the safest thing to do is contact an eye doctor for treatment. In this post, we’ll discuss the details you need to know about eye infections, including preventative measures and care options.
There are many different causes of eye infections, and they can affect any part of your eye, including your eyelid, cornea, or conjunctiva. Bacterial, fungal and viral agents can play a role in each type. Some infections can result from allergies or chemical exposure, while others may occur from wearing contact lenses, undergoing surgery, or sustaining an eye injury.
Since there are many different types of eye infections, symptoms can vary. However, the most common general eye infection symptoms include the following:
- Unusual discharge from the eye
- Watery eyes
- Swelling (of the eyelids or around the eye)
Types of Eye Infections
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Pink eye is a very common infection that affects many people. It is caused by bacteria, viruses, seasonal allergens, or chemicals contaminating the blood vessels in your conjunctiva (the thin membrane surrounding your eyeball).
The most noticeable symptom is the eye becoming pink or red in colour. You may also experience watery discharge and itchiness.
Pink eye can be extremely contagious, and it is best to limit the spread of the bacteria. To prevent it from spreading from one eye to the other or to a friend or family member, try not to touch the impacted eye. Additionally, do not share towels and cosmetics and wash your pillowcases and bedding often.
Depending on the cause of your conjunctivitis (bacterial, viral, or allergenic), you will require different treatment options, which can be decided by your doctor.
Styes occur when the glands around the eye become clogged from dead skin, oil, or other particles, causing a sore that has a very similar appearance to that of a pimple or a boil.
The sore can cause pain and be very uncomfortable and itchy, depending on its location. Styes are mostly harmless and do not cause any serious damage or require professional treatment. You can provide relief by applying a warm, damp cloth to your eyelids daily, cleaning your eyes with scent-free soap, or taking over-the-counter pain medicine. If swelling persists or worsens over ten days, talk to your doctor.
You can prevent styes by limiting the touching of your eyes, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding sharing cosmetic products.
This infection of the cornea can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi and is common for those who wear contact lenses or have sustained an eye injury. Some symptoms include redness and swelling, pain, abnormal discharge, blurry vision, and light sensitivity.
Keratitis requires specific treatments. Depending on its source, you may be prescribed antibiotics, oral antiviral medications, or eye drops.
This infection produces eyelid inflammation caused by bacteria or clogged oil glands. Blepharitis can cause crusty dandruff-like flakes on your lashes, and you may experience burning, itchiness, redness, or sensitivity to light.
While this condition usually does not cause damage to your eyes and is not contagious, it also rarely disappears, even after treatment. Therefore, once diagnosed, you may need to do routine eyelid cleaning for the rest of your life to manage your symptoms.
To prevent eye infections, here are a few things you can do:
- Try not to touch your eyes
- Have clean hands when handling contact lenses
- Do not share contact lenses or accessories
- Clean your glasses and contact lenses frequently
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often
- Wash your bedding and towels regularly
- Do not share towels or facecloths
- Replace your eye cosmetics regularly
- Do not share your eye cosmetics
- Wear eye protection, especially in places where there is flying debris
It is necessary to see your eye doctor for a correct diagnosis so they can ensure you get the help when it’s needed. There are a variety of treatments your eye doctor can recommend, which can include eye drops, antibiotics, creams, cold compresses, and at-home remedies. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may have to stick to these treatments for days or weeks.
If you are concerned about your eye health or suspect an infection, contact us at Laurier Optical so you can get the care you need to protect your vision.