Eye infections can occur when a patient has been exposed to a virus, fungus or bacterium. Different types of infections strike particular portions of the eye. Both eyes or only one may become infected.
Symptoms of an Eye Infection
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Pain, discharge
- Inflammation in the eye area
- Vision difficulties
Common Eye Infections
Two of the most typical forms of eye infections include conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, and styes.
Conjunctivitis is a contagious infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white part of the eyeball. It produces inflammation that affects the blood vessels and gives the eye a pink or red appearance.
Styes are small red bumps that develop in the eyelid as a result of a bacterial infection of the hair follicle of an eyelash. Styes may cause pain, swelling and tearing of the eye.
Treatment of Eye Infections
Treatment for an eye infection will vary depending on its cause. Bacterial infections require the use of warm compresses and antibiotic eye drops. Viral infections are more difficult to treat. Supportive care such as cool compresses and artificial tears can help improve symptoms. Often the viral infection must run its course. Patients should avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses until after the infection is gone.
Rarely, an infection can occur within the eye. Usually this occurs after eye injuries or intraocular surgery. This will require aggressive treatment.