Know All About Common Eye Infections From Ophthalmologist

There are different kinds of eye infections that are caused due to either viruses or bacteria. Know common infections from an ophthalmologist.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Dec 30, 2020 22:07 IST
Know All About Common Eye Infections From Ophthalmologist

Various types of fungi, bacteria and viruses that invade a human body are capable of affecting the inner and outer surface of the eye causing eye infections. Bacteria cause bacterial eye infection and viruses cause a viral eye infection. While the symptoms and spreading of the infection may be the same in both of these but the treatment approach is different. There are many types of eye infections that have different causes and treatments. While some eye infections are very common some are very rare. Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Ritesh Kakrania, Sr. Consultant Ophthalmology, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Pune to know about some common eye infections that people get the most. To know what are they, keep reading.

What are eye infections?

Eye infections can affect the following parts of a human eye:

Eyelid: Thin layer of skin that covers and protects the eye.

Cornea: A transparent part of the eye that covers the pupil, it is and anterior part of the eye.

Conjunctiva: Mucous membrane of the eye that lines the external surface of eye.

Common Eye Infections

There are several eye infections but after talking to Dr. Ritesh Kakrania, we have listed out some common eye infections.

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections that is also known as ‘pink eye’. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva that covers the white part of the eyeball and also lines our eyelid. It can be caused either by allergic or viral or bacterial infections. It is a highly contagious infection that can spread quickly from person to person but it is very unlikely to be serious, especially if diagnosed and treated quickly. But if it happens to a newborn baby, seek medical assistance immediately as it can impact the baby’s vision.

conjunctivitis

The visible symptoms of conjunctivitis are:

  • Swollen conjunctiva
  • Burning eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Tearing with more tears
  • White or green discharge from the eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness in the inner eyelid
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Thick yellow discharge from the eyelashes

Endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis is a purulent inflammation of the inner cavity of the eye generally caused by an infection. It is a very rare condition but it requires immediate attention and medical treatment otherwise it can cause blindness. According to research conducted in 2018, cataract surgery is the most common cause of Endophthalmitis. Swollen eyelids, pus from the eyes, worsened eye pain and decreased or loss of vision are the symptoms of this infection. If you notice any of the symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately as the sooner Endophthalmitis is treated, the lesser is the chance of it to serious vision problems. Endophthalmitis has different treatments, depending on its cause. Antibiotics are placed in the eye with a tiny needle to reduce the inflammation. If the eye has any foreign object responsible for the inflammation, it is very important to take it out immediately.

Endophthalmitis

Here are the signs and symptoms of Endophthalmitis:

  • Red eyes
  • Mild eye pain
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Pus coming from the eye
  • Vision issues
  • Pain in the eye
  • Light sensitivity

Keratitis

Keratitis is also known as corneal inflammation as it is an infection that causes inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by an infection, injury or disease. Wearing contact lenses for a long time can also result in corneal inflammation. The key symptom of Keratitis is a pain in the eyes. Some other common symptoms of this infection are eye redness, decreased or blurred vision, sensitivity to light, etc. Keratitis can be treated by antibacterial eye drops however in serious cases, a doctor may recommend antibiotics. 

Symptoms of keratitis include:

  • Red eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Pain and irritation in the eye
  • Redness in inner eyes
  • Problem in seeing things or blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye discharge
  • Not able to open the eyes

Blepharitis

Our eyelids have curved hair follicles on the edge of the eyelid. These follicles contain oil glands. Due to clogging or irritation in these oil glands, a person may get eyelid disorders like eyelid inflammation or blepharitis. You have a higher risk of this infection if you have dandruff on the scalp or eyebrows. Allergic reactions to cosmetics and makeup can also trigger blepharitis. Symptoms of blepharitis include itchy eyelids, red and watery eyes, sensitivity to light, etc. If caught by blepharitis, you can wash your eyes at regular intervals and apply a warm compress to reduce the inflammation. Steroids, eye drops, ointments and antibiotics can also be used to treat blepharitis and reduce eyelid inflammation. 

Blepharitis

You can identify blepharitis with these signs & symptoms:

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Itchy eyelids
  • Oily eyelids
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Inflamed or red eyelids
  • You feel that something is in your eyes
  • Burning sensation with itchiness
  • A crust formed on the corners of eyes or eyelashes

Stye

A stye is a pimple-like bump formed on the lower or upper eyelid due to a blocked gland. This bump is formed due to the collection of pus at a place. This can occur due to obstruction of glands by scar tissue or foreign objects like dust and makeup. Mostly, this infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. Pressure on the eyes, a sensation of foreign body in the eye especially while blinking, painful red bump that is often painful, swelling and puffy appearance of the eyelid are visible signs. Styes go away on their own and do not necessarily require treatment. As soon as the bump ruptures, you will notice reduced symptoms. If the stye is causing you uneasiness, you can use a warm compress to ease the symptoms. You can use the compress three to four times a day to encourage the pus to drain. Oral antibiotics may be required. Watch out for these signs of stye:

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Itchy eyelids
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Inflammation on the eyelids
  • Burning and itchy sensation
  • Oil on the eyelids
stye
 
 

Tips for prevention

Eye infections can become severe from mild in minutes. The only way to prevent their spreading and reducing the pain is to take immediate steps.

  • If you suspect that you have an eye infection, don’t touch your eyes with your hands. It may aggravate the condition.
  • Wash your eyes with cold water.
  • Don’t put any eyedrop by yourself. 
  • If you wear lenses, take them off immediately. Contact lenses may irritate the eye and may cause the infection to get severe.
  • Visit the nearest eye specialist to examine the condition and get treated.
  • Follow all the guidelines given by the doctor for a speedy recovery.

Conclusion

Eye infections can be prevented with good hygiene practices. You must keep your hands clean and never bring dirty hands close to your eyes. If you wear contact lenses, make sure your hands are clean and sanitised while handling them. They can catch germs easily and it is a potential trigger for eye infections. Infections like Conjunctivitis, Blepharitis can be treated by mere home care whereas infections like Endophthalmitis are serious and require specialized treatment immediately. If infections like conjunctivitis, stye and blepharitis fail to improve with home care, it is important to seek medical advice from a doctor. In a nutshell, there are a lot of eye infections that are common and do not ask for any medical assistance. However, few infections require immediate medical assistance to avoid vision loss. 

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