Common Eye Infections: Causes, Treatments

Conjunctivitis

Eye infections are quite common, and unlike some other infections that may show no symptoms, the conditions of the eyes usually gives symptoms.
Today, we would discuss how to detect & treat the common types of these Infections.

General Symptoms

If you have noticed pain, swelling, itching or redness in your eye, you likely have an eye infection.

Eye infections fall into 3 main categories based on their cause. They are;

  • Viral eye infections
  • Bacterial eye infections
  • Fungal eye infections
    and each is treated differently.

Here’s everything you need to know about common eye infections, the causes & their treatment where applicable. Know that Whenever you have any problems in your eyes, you should see a doctor as soon as you can, to prevent further damage to your eyes.

5 common eye infections

  1. Conjunctivitis aka Apollo or pink eye
  2. Keratitis
  3. Blepharitis
  4. Stye
  5. Uveitis

Conjunctivitis

This is known as inflammation (swelling) of the conjunctiva. It happens when the blood vessels in the conjunctiva (this thin outermost covering surrounding your eyeball) become infected by bacteria (like gonorrhea) or a virus. As a result, your eyes become pink or red. Sometimes it can be caused by an allergy, and that type is known as allergic conjunctivitis. Read more about conjunctivitis here.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis

  • Red/pink eyes.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Itchiness.
  • Swelling of the Eyelids.
  • Sticky discharge (in cases of bacterial conjunctivitis).
  • Sensation of something in the eye.
Eye infections
Sticky Eyes seen in Conjunctivitis

Treatment of Conjunctivitis

Treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the cause.
In cases of viral conjunctivitis, no treatment is needed, symptoms would go on its own after 7 to 10 days. Apply a clean, warm, wet cloth to your eyes to relieve discomfort.

However, for bacterial causes, your doctor would prescribe effective antibiotic eye drops, ointments, or oral medications that would help clear the infection causing the disease.

In allergic cases, the source of the allergy has to be detected & removed to prevent recurrence of the condition. You should see your doctor for prescription of anti-inflammatory medications to help with the swelling & pain, as well as antihistamines for the itching.

Keratitis

This occurs when your cornea gets infected. The cornea is the clear layer that covers your pupil and iris. It results from either an infection or an eye injury. Any problems affecting this area would affect your vision.

Symptoms of Keratitis

  • Red/swollen eye
  • Eye pain/discomfort
  • Tears
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased Light sensitivity
  • Sandy sensation

Treatment of Keratitis

This depends on the cause.
Bacterial: Antibacterial eye drop. Plus oral antibiotics for severe cases
Fungal: Antifungal eye drops
Viral: There’s no cure for viral causes. Oral antiviral medications or eyedrops can help stop the infection in a few days up to a week

Blepharitis

This is an inflammation of your eyelids, the skin folds covering your eyes.

Symptoms of Blepharitis

  • Red/swollen eye/eyelid
  • Sandy sensation
  • increased Sensitivity to light
  • Tears
  • Crust on eyelashes

Treatment of Blepharitis

  • Antibiotics eye drop/OINTMENT.
  • Clean eyelids with warm water and towel

Stye

This is a pimple-like bump that develops on the outer edges of your eyelid

Symptoms of Stye

  • Pain
  • Itchiness/irritation
  • Swelling
  • Tears
  • Eyelid Crust

Treatment of Stye

  • Applying a clean, warm cloth to your eyelids for 20 minutes
  • Antibiotics eyedrop & pain relievers

Uveitis

This happens when a part of the inner eye called the uvea is infected. This includes the coloured round part in the centre of your eye

Symptoms of Uveitis

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Floaters: seeing objects as if something is in your front, but it is inside your eye.
  • increased Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

Treatment of Uveitis

  • Wearing sunshades
  • Use of steroid &
  • Antibiotics drops
    See your doctor for the best appropriate treatment option for you..

Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and I would do well to respond to them as soon as I can.

Authors

  • Dr. Okore Elem Nnamdi holds a Doctor of Optometry degree from the Abia State University, in Uturu, Abia State Nigeria, where he graduated as a Valedictorian. Dr. Okore, currently works as a Lecturer in the department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, Abia State University, ABSU. He is a seasoned speaker, an eye health educator and he loves to research.

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