Did you know that almost a million eye infections that warrant a visit to the doctor occur each year in the United States? If you have eye pain, redness, or itching, you may have an eye infection. Different pathogens can attack various parts of your eye. In effect, each type of eye infection may need specific intervention. Here are the eye infection types and treatments you need to know:
Also known as pink eye, this eye infection affects the conjunctiva. It's the clear, thin tissue that covers the front surface of your eye and the inner surface of your eyelid. Conjunctivitis can occur due to bacteria or viruses. Your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics, often in the form of eye drops or ointment, for bacterial conjunctivitis. Many cases of viral conjunctivitis are mild, which usually clear up in a week or two even without treatment. For more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines. Besides bacteria and viruses, you may also suffer from allergic conjunctivitis. This can occur from exposure to certain irritants like pollen, molds, and animal dander, among others. Treatment generally includes allergy medicines and eye drops.
This is a painful inflammation of the eye that affects the cornea. Keratitis has two primary types: infectious and noninfectious. The former generally includes bacterial, often due to unclean contact lenses. It could also be fungal, usually resulting from an eye injury by a plant or tree branch. Keratitis could also be viral and even parasitic. Noninfectious causes of this eye condition include allergy, dry eyes, or prolonged contact lens wear. Injury to the cornea, vitamin A deficiency, or excessive exposure to intense sunlight may also contribute to the development of the condition. The best treatment for you will depend on which type of keratitis you have. For infectious keratitis, your doctor may prescribe antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral medications.
Have you heard of staph infections? These are infections caused by a common group of bacteria known as staphylococcus. This type of bacteria is usually the culprit of a sty, a painful red bump that can form within or the surface of your eyelid. A sty looks like a pimple, and it may leak pus. Typically, it can disappear on its own within a few days. But if your condition doesn't improve within a couple of days, you must visit your doctor. They may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment, which you can apply to the affected eyelid. A steroid injection may also be an option to help reduce the swelling in your eyelid. Your doctor may also recommend draining your sty by conducting an in-office incision under local anesthesia.
The other common eye infections are uveitis, blepharitis, keratomycosis, and endophthalmitis.
Various pathogens can affect your eyes, causing a wide array of symptoms like swelling and excessive tearing. For this reason, you must take preventive measures. These include washing your hands thoroughly and as often as necessary. You must also avoid touching your eyes and face. Wearing eye protection outdoors or when doing home improvement projects is also highly recommended. Where possible, never share your eye medicines, contact lenses and accessories, and even towels and washcloths with anyone else.
Do you suspect that you may have some type of eye infection? Talk to our eye health care professionals at Urban Optics in College Station, Texas by calling (979) 690-0888 today.