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Eye Infections

Infection in the eye is caused due to viruses, bacteria, and other microbiological agents. The upcoming article sheds light on the most prevalent eye infections known.
Abhay Burande
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2018
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Conjunctivitis, blepharitis and keratitis are the prevalent eye infections that are widespread throughout the globe, and there are various types of conjunctivitis. These infections can affect one or both the eyes and can occur in different parts of the eye.
Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is an irritation or redness in the membranes on the inner parts of the eyelids and those covering the white part of the eyes. These membranes are influenced by bacteria, viruses, allergic agents, irritants, toxic agents, and the internal diseases in the body. The different causes of this infection can be grouped into infectious and non-infectious.
Viral pink eye is caused due to viral infections. Out here, there is significant watery discharge that is not yellow or green in color. One may suffer from viral cold-like symptoms. The eyelids may show swelling, and viewing bright light may cause pain. This disease is very contagious and may be associated with infection of the cornea.
Bacterial pink eye is caused by staphylococci, streptococci, and pneumococci. The symptoms include:
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Eye pain
  • Yellow or green discharge in moderate or large amounts (usually after sleeping)
In case of children, their eyes may get stuck while trying to open after sleeping, and slightly rubbing with a warm wash cloth may prove to be beneficial to normalize the situation. Antibiotic eye drops and ointment, that have been recommended by the doctor, would also help.
Chlamydia pink eye is rather rarely found in the United States. It can be sexually transmitted. Tetracycline and erythromycin are usually prescribed for this disease.
Chemical pink eye forms when an irritating object enters the eye. The frequent causative irritants are:
  • Sprays
  • Smog
  • Household cleaner
  • Smoke
  • Industrial pollutants
Bleach and furniture polish are also extremely damaging agents, and when infected by these, a doctor must be contacted immediately. As a general precept, use large amounts of water to thoroughly wash the eyes.
Allergic pink eye is a swelling of the conjunctiva. It occurs due to the allergens present in the air or those entering the eye directly. This eye infection is not contagious, and it is characterized by red, itchy, and watery eyes accompanied by a burning and scratchy sensation.
Trachoma is a type of conjunctivitis that affects millions worldwide and is a prime reason for blindness. It involves an irreparable scarring of the cornea. It is one of the oldest recorded eye diseases and is prevalent in the developing world.
Blepharitis
This is an infection of the eyelids. It is also called granulated eyelids. In the initial stage, eye inflammation is seen, but the condition progresses to infection. Itching, foreign object sensation, burning, excessive tearing, scratchiness, and crusty debris around the eyelashes can be felt. Such a state can become chronic, and if it does, it cannot be cured. It can only be controlled by maintaining excellent hand and eye hygiene. The basic causes of blepharitis are low hygiene, dry eyes, or oily skin. So, the eyelids have to be scrubbed to get rid of the oily secretions, and prevent the formation of chalazions or styes in the eyelid. Some antibiotic ointment or eye drops are suggested to be applied at the base of the eye lashes during bedtime.
Keratitis
Fungal keratitis, as the name suggests, is caused by fungus. It is a serious and painful corneal disease. The occurrence of this disease amongst contact lens users is on the rise. The symptoms are as follows:
  • Sudden blurred or fuzzy vision
  • Red or irritated eyes (lasting for a long time) after the removal of contact lenses
  • Pain in and around the eyes
  • Increase in sensitivity towards light
  • Excessive eye tearing or discharge
Fungal keratitis generally shows up after a corneal injury involving plant matter or in immunocompromised persons. Ulceration and permanent or greater damage to the cornea can be prevented if immediate and proper treatment is provided.
In bacterial keratitis, the bacteria infect the cornea and create an ulcer. This generally takes place due to the poor hygiene of contact lenses and rubbing of the cornea with foreign objects. The symptoms are:
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Eye pain
  • Redness
  • Increased tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Formation of a white patch on the cornea
Ulceration and increased or permanent injury to the cornea can be avoided through early and proper treatment by an eye care specialist.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.