The eyes are constantly exposed to the outside environment, so it's no wonder that they occasionally get infected. Most eye infections are fairly benign, but sometimes, they can be serious enough to warrant a quick trip to the eye doctor. Here are some of the most common types of infections you may encounter, along with information about their typical severities.
Even eye doctors use this term, but it is actually a word that can describe any eye infection that turns the whites of the eyes pink. Conjunctivitis is another term for this type of infection. Both refer to some of the hallmark signs of this type of infection. It turns the eye pink, and it affects the conjunctiva - the moist membrane that covers the outside of the eyeball and the insides of the eyelids.
A stye is an infection of the eyelid. It typically presents as a pimple or boil at or near the edge of the lid. These can annoy you by sticking out into your field of vision or by scraping your eyeball when you blink. Pain ranges from none to significant, depending on factors like stye size, the infectious agent involved, and the precise location on the eyelid.
This infection affects the cornea and often attacks contact lens wearers. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or even water-borne parasites.
The uvea is the central part of your eye, and an infection here is called uveitis. The risk of getting it is increased if you have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or another inflammatory disease.
It's rare for the eye to be infected with fungus, but when it happens, it can be very serious. Often, the fungi get into the eye through a scratch or poke from a thorn or other contaminated plant part. They can also enter along with other contaminated items, such as improperly cleaned contact lenses or unsterile eye drops. To reduce the risk of infection, always make sure your eye care products are clean before putting them in your eyes.
Regardless of the organisms causing the infection, there are common symptoms to look out for. These include:
Discharge from the eye that is especially copious and forms a glue-like crust overnight
Discharge that is an unhealthy color, such as green or white
Extreme sensitivity to light
Pink eye whites
A pimple on the eyelid, whether visible or felt by touch
Not all infections produce every listed symptom. In fact, it's fairly rare to get them all. However, pain, redness or pinkness, and general eye discomfort are all very common indicators.
If you think you have an eye infection, you should see your optometrist in College Station TX right away. While it's true that many cases of pinkeye will go away on their own within a few days, it's also possible that a sight-threatening microbe has taken hold. Going to the eye doctor will result in an educated diagnosis and the appropriate treatment. Even if it does turn out to be a case of normal pinkeye, the doctor can give you eye drops or other medications to reduce discomfort as it heals.
If your eyes have been bothering you in any way, make an appointment with us here at Urban Optics. We'll fit you in right away so we can diagnose and treat the problem in a timely and effective way. Not only will this help your eyes heal, but it will also give you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what is going on with your eyes.