Some common eye infections are:
In general, symptoms of eye infections may include redness, itching, swelling, discharge, pain, or problems with vision. Treatment depends on the cause of the infection and may include compresses, eye drops, creams or antibiotics. Read more about each kind of eye infection below.
Bacterial infection is usually the cause of a painful stye eye infection. A stye can develop at the base of an eyelash if the eyelash follicle gets infected. A chalazion, which is similar to a stye, but often larger and less painful, forms if an oil-producing gland in the eyelid becomes enlarged becomes oil-clogged.
Initially, symptoms of a stye generally include eyelid tenderness and redness in the affected area, with irritation and scratchiness in the eye.
Further symptoms of a stye include:
Treatment of Styes and Chalazion
It is important not to squeeze or try to “pop” a chalazion or stye as this action might spread infection. Proper treatment may include:
Using a clean washcloth soaked in hot water, apply the cloth gently to the lid for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat three or five times a day until the chalazion or stye is gone. Keep the cloth warm during the entire process. The clogged gland will be able to open and drain a white or yellow discharge. When the gland opens, encourage drainage with gentle massage around the stye or chalazion.
If the warm compress is ineffective or the stye or chalazion returns, an antibiotic ointment may need to be prescribed.
Swelling of a chalazion may indicate that a steroid (cortisone) injection is needed to reduce size.
If a large chalazion or stye does not heal or if it affects your vision, your eye doctor may need to drain it in surgery. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia in the office.
Caution: Don’t wear eye makeup or contact lenses until after the stye or chalazion heals.
While contact lenses are safely used by millions of people every day, they do carry a risk of eye infection. The most common infection related to contact lens use is keratitis, an infection of the cornea (the clear, round dome covering the eye’s iris and pupil). Keratitis is the most serious complication of contact lens wear. In severe cases, it can lead to corneal scarring that impairs vision, and may lead to the need for a cornea transplant.
Herpes keratitis is a viral infection of the eye caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Type I HSV is the most frequent cause of eye infections. Infection can be caused by touching an active cold sore or fever blister and then your eye.
Symptoms of herpes keratitis include: pain, redness, tearing, discharge, blurred vision and light sensitivity.
Mild herpes infections are typically treated with topical and sometimes oral antiviral medication. In more severe cases, it is necessary to scrape the affected area of the cornea to remove the diseased cells. In case of severe scarring and vision loss, a corneal transplant may be required.
Bacterial keratitis is an infection of the cornea that causes pain, reduced vision, light sensitivity and tearing or discharge from your eye. Bacterial keratitis usually develops very quickly, and if left untreated, can cause blindness. It often results from infection from contact lens use or from an injury to the eye. The bacteria usually responsible for this type of keratitis infection are Staphylococcus Aureus and, for contact lens wearers, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.
Fungal keratitis, similar to bacterial keratitis in symptoms and causes (contact use and eye injury), but caused by a fungus, most often Fusarium. Like bacterial keratitis, fungal keratitis usually develops very quickly, and if left untreated, can cause blindness.
Fungal keratitis can occur after a corneal injury involving plant material, for example, getting hit in the eye with a palm branch. This eye infection can also occur when people who are immunosuppressed are exposed to the fungus. There is also a risk of developing fungal keratitis with contact lens use.
To accurately diagnose fungal keratitis, your eye doctor may gently scrape the eye to take a small sample of material and test it for infection, then diagnose whether your keratitis is fungal keratitis or bacterial keratitis.
Treatment of fungal keratitis usually includes antifungal eye drops and oral medications. Surgery may be required, including corneal transplantation if other treatments are ineffective. In some cases, even corneal surgery will not restore vision, and permanent vision impairment or blindness may occur.
For contact lens users, it is very important to safely handle, store and clean your lenses to reduce your risk of developing keratitis.
Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the retina and the white of the eye (sclera).
The specific cause of uveitis often remains unknown. In some cases, however, it can be associated with other disease or infection in the body.
Uveitis may be associated with:
If left untreated, uveitis may lead to:
If you have a “red eye” that does not clear up quickly, contact your eye doctor. These complications may also need treatment with eye drops, conventional surgery or laser surgery.
Follow these tips to keep your eyes healthy:
If you have eye surgery, do not wear makeup around the eye until your ophthalmologist tells you it is safe to do so, and then use only fresh, new makeup.
The final word in eye infections is that if you experience pain, redness, tearing, discharge, blurred vision and light sensitivity or swelling around the eye, go to your eye doctor so that it can be diagnosed and treated immediately. Eye infections like conjunctivitis and stye eye infections, as well as others, can and will cause damage to the eye and may result in blindness when left untreated.