Eye infections can be tricky. Many different types of eye infections can occur for many different reasons. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi or even viruses. One or both eyes might be affected, and any or all parts of the eye can be affected as well. Understanding the most common eye infections is an important first step in treating and preventing eye infections.
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is perhaps the most well-known eye infection. The conjunctiva, or the thin tissue that covers the white of the eye, becomes inflamed and infected. It can be caused by a bacteria or a virus. Some forms of conjunctivitis are highly contagious and spread quickly, particularly among children.
Fungal Keratitis and Bacterial Keratitis
Keratitis can be either fungal or bacterial. This infection affects the cornea, or the clear portion of the front of the eye that covers the iris and pupil. This type of infection can progress rapidly and can cause serious damage, even blindness, if not treated correctly. It can be caused by bacteria (usually Staphylococcus Aureus or Pseudomonas Aeruginosa) or fungus (Fusarium, Aspergillus, or Candida) that enters the eye via contact lenses or other organic matter, such as a stick poking the eye.
Keratitis caused by acanthamoeba is an infection that puts contact wearers at risk. This infection typically occurs in conjunction with bacterial keratitis due to bacteria found in the contact lens case. This particular infection is caused by acanthamoeba entering the eye and infecting the cornea. It is caused by water getting into the contacts and not being cleaned out properly. Good contact lens cleaning habits can prevent this infection from occurring.
Blepharitis is an infection of the eye lid. It causes the eyelid to be swollen or inflamed, and can often lead to two types of complications:
- Stye: a painful, red bump on the eyelid due to an infection of an oil gland
- Chalazion: a small lump due to an inflamed oil gland on the eyelid
Blepharitis can occur on both the outer and inner eyelids. It is most often caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria.
One of the leading causes of blindness worldwide is trachoma. This infection, while not common in the United States, is spread very easily where there is lack of proper sanitation. It is caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It affects both the eyes and the eyelids. It can cause scarring of the inner eyelid, causing the eyelid to turn inward. Then, the eyelashes scratch the cornea and cause permanent damage and loss of vision. This infection is often recurring and can be difficult to treat.
Symptoms of Eye Infections
All eye infections have common signs and symptoms. A good acronym to remember with eye infections is RSVP:
- Vision problems
Other common symptoms include discharge, tearing, dryness, light sensitivity and itching. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor right away so that your eye infection can be properly diagnosed and treated.
Don’t Let an Eye Infection Get You Down
An eye infection doesn’t have to be tricky. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the more common infections can help you know when to seek treatment. Good hygiene and safe eye care practices can help prevent most infections. If you are concerned about your eyes, contact an eye care professional immediately. The professionals at Advanced Eye Medical have the expertise you need when fighting an eye infection. Contact their office today at 1-888-439-6565 to schedule your appointment.