There are a few contagious eye diseases that may lead to a mild, or to a severe infection. The following article will discuss some of the highly contagious eye diseases that occur due to exposure to infectious bacteria or viruses.
Eyes are one of the most precious organs of any living being. However, these precious organs are prone to many infections and diseases. Everyday our eyes come in contact with environmental irritants, microorganisms as well as accidental trauma. This causes redness, itchiness, as well as pain in the eyes. We shall have a look at some contagious eye diseases that are caused by bacterial, viral or sometimes fungal infections. Most of the symptoms include redness, eye discharge and swelling. These diseases spread through air, person-to-person contact, as well as contact with contaminated objects. Some of these contagious and highly transmissible diseases are covered below.
Eye Diseases that are Contagious
The following list contains information on some of the most commonly occurring eye diseases. As you go through the following paragraphs, you will learn more about these diseases of the eye.
A red lump at the edge of the eyelid that is very painful is called a stye. This stye, also called a hordeolum, appears like a small pimple. It is filled with pus and mostly appears on the outer edge of the eyelid. This contagious eye infection is caused mainly due to poor hygiene. The bacterial agent responsible for this infection is Staphylococcus. This bacteria spreads to the eyes by unclean and unwashed hands touching the eyes and eyelids. It remains for a few weeks and resolves on its own. However, if it persists, one may require antibiotic creams or eye drops. In serious cases, one may have to seek surgical intervention if the stye does not burst on its own.
One of the most contagious diseases caused by a virus is ocular herpes. The herpes simplex virus causes inflammation of the cornea. It even leads to production of sores on the eye surface and spreads through person-to-person contact. The doctor may advice the use of antiviral drugs to treat and prevent recurrence of an infection. According to the National Eye Institute, ocular herpes is the most common cause of corneal blindness in the United States of America.
When one talks about contagious eye diseases, it is hard to miss conjunctivitis. Also called pink eye, it is a highly infectious disease that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva. This infection can either be caused by bacteria, virus or an allergic reaction. The eyes become red, watery and inflamed. Some experience a burning sensation in the eyes as well as a scratchy feeling. If one child in the classroom gets infected, it quickly spreads to other children. Thus, many doctors advise to not send children infected with conjunctivitis to schools, till the infection subsides. Washing hands frequently is therefore very important to prevent spread of infection.
Infection of Chlamydia trachomatis leads to trachoma, which is a very serious contagious eye disease. This bacterial infection spreads through direct contact with secretions of the eye, nose, and throat of an infected person. This infection usually occurs in both eyes. Symptoms include itching, irritation, blurred vision and eye pain. It is very important to seek immediate medical help for trachoma. If left untreated, it leads to blindness.
This is an eye infection commonly seen in cats, that can pass on to humans. This infection is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It spreads by consumption of raw or partially cooked meat, pork or venison that contains the Toxoplasma cysts. It may even spread by transmission of the pathogen while cleaning the cat litter box or after gardening or children coming in contact with sandpits infected with the parasite. The infection causes eye damage (necrotizing retinochoroiditis). It may even lead to chorioretinitis that leads to presence of black spots and blurry vision. It is very important to seek treatment to prevent any kind of eye damage.
It is very important to wash one’s hands frequently as the infections generally spread through hand to eye contact. If one suspects eye diseases, they need to seek medical attention, even if the disease appears to be a mild infection. Eyes are very sensitive organs and can easily get damaged. In order to prevent temporary or permanent eye damage or loss of vision, medical attention is necessary.