A condition where the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eye becomes inflamed and infected is termed an eye infection. Bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or other irritants are generally associated to cause eye infections.
Early symptoms of eye infection include redness, itching, burning, watery discharge, swollen eyelids, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.
In case a person notices any above symptoms that persist for a long-time causing problem in the eyes needs immediate medical attention. At the same time if a person is suffering from any kind of eye infection it is important to maintain hygiene such as washing hands before getting in contact with eyes, avoiding touching your eyes, and not sharing personal items such as towels or makeup with anyone else.
What Causes Eye Infection?
Bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenza are common bacteria that cause an eye infection.
Viruses: Herpes simplex virus (HSV), adenovirus, and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) are a common type of viruses that are linked to causing eye infection
Fungi: Weakened immune systems or those who have had eye surgery.
Parasites: Acanthamoeba commonly present in water and soil can lead to severe eye infections.
Allergen: Substances such as pollen, dust, and pet dander can cause allergic conjunctivitis. Common symptoms include redness, itching, and tearing.
Trauma: Injuries to the eye caused by scratching, cuts, or foreign objects entering the eye, can lead to infections if left untreated.
Poor hygiene: Using dirty hands when coming in contact with eyes, and using poor quality eye cosmetics or cheap contact lenses can also lead to an eye infection.
Hence to avoid eye infections it is very important not to touch your eyes without washing your hands and in case a person is already suffering from an eye infection it is important to rinse your eyes with water regularly and use a clean cloth to avoid infection from growing.
There are several types of eye infections, including:
Conjunctivitis: Due to bacteria, viruses, or allergens it is very face conjunctivitis. It is also known as “pink eye”. It causes an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids.
Keratitis: It is a type of infection that infects the cornea, the clear dome-shaped layer on the front of the eye.
Blepharitis: It is a type of inflammation of the eyelids often caused by bacteria or skin conditions like rosacea.
Endophthalmitis: Exposure to bacteria after eye surgery can cause a such eye infection.
Uveitis: Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye that can lead to vision loss if left untreated.
Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin around the eye, typically caused by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria.
Orbital cellulitis: Orbital cellulitis is a rare but serious infection of the tissues behind the eye, often caused by sinusitis or a spread of infection from nearby structures.
These are some rare to common eye infections that a person may experience. Not just bacteria, viruses or parasites but there are some health disorders that may cause eye infections
Health problems that cause eye infection
Diabetes: Changes in blood sugar levels can weaken the immune system and damage blood vessels in the eyes. Hence for a diabetes patient, it is very important to get regular eye check-ups.
HIV/AIDS: Even HIV/AIDS may result in a weak immune system, which makes them more susceptible to developing eye infections.
Autoimmune disorders: Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can increase the risk of developing uveitis when untreated may result in permanent vision loss.
Recent eye surgery: Eye surgery needs proper hygiene if not bacteria may result in an eye infection.
Chronic dry eyes: Dry eyes often make it difficult for foreign particles to get rid of the eyes which may not be good for eyes.
Diagnosis of eye infection
An ophthalmologist or optometrist is the right person to contact when dealing with any kind of eye problem. To diagnose the root cause of eye infection a doctor may conduct the following test.
Visual acuity test: Visibility test using a chart that has units and letters written in small to larger font.
Slit-lamp exam: A slit-lamp exam uses a special microscope to detect if any abnormalities in the eyes
Fluorescein staining: Fluorescein is a dye that is used to highlight any abrasions or ulcers on the surface of the eye.
Culture and sensitivity tests: A type of medical examination of discharge from the infected eye to test the presence of bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Ways to overcome an eye infection
Depending on the type of eye infection and its severity the treatment option may be suggested to a patient by a doctor. It may include using eyedrops or medication in order to overcome severe eye infections.
But along with eye medication, there are certain important things that need to be followed for faster recovery such as:
Practice good hygiene: When hands come in contact with eyes there are greater chances of bacteria getting transmitted into the eyes. Hence washing hands before touching eyes is always a better practice.
Apply warm compresses: Applying warm compresses to the affected eye can help reduce swelling and speed up healing.
Rest your eyes: Resting your eyes during an eye infection is very important. So, avoid digital products that may add stress to the eyes.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep can help boost your immune system and help maintain healthy eyes.