Eye pain is a typical symptom of an eye infection. If you’ve ever noticed pain, itching, swelling, and redness in your eye, you may have an eye infection.
You can get an eye infection from a microorganism like a virus, fungus, or bacteria. In addition, pink eye is the most common eye infection.
Viruses commonly cause eye infections, although bacterial infections can also be the culprit. These infections can affect a single eye or both eyes simultaneously. While many eye infections are not particularly serious, it is crucial to seek professional care for severe cases, as they can escalate into medical emergencies and potentially lead to vision loss.
Fortunately, you can recover from an eye infection if you receive proper and timely treatment from a healthcare provider. More importantly, you can quickly recover if you obtain treatment from an experienced and certified physician.
Here are a few signs and symptoms of an eye infection:
The above signs develop early in the infection; later symptoms include:
Eye infections fall into three categories based on their cause: bacterial, viral, or fungi, each with unique symptoms and treatment.
Below are the common eye infections:
Pink eye is an inflammation of the transparent membrane between the eyeball and eyelid. The infected membrane is called conjunctiva. The infection starts to develop after the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become swollen and irritated.
The expansion of the blood vessels causes the white part of the eye to appear reddish or pink, hence the name pink eye or conjunctivitis. A viral infection is the most common cause of pink eye; however, the illness can occur due to a bacteria or allergic reaction.
Other causes of pink eye include a chemical splash, a foreign object, or a blocked tear duct.
Here are the common symptoms of pink eye infection:
Good hygiene practices is an excellent strategy to control the spread of pink eye.
Here are a few tips to improve your hygiene:
Keratitis is an eye infection that occurs due to an inflammation of the cornea. The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer covering the pupil and the iris. Keratitis may occur due to an infection or non-infection.
An example of non-infection is when you sustain an injury by wearing contact lenses for too long. It can also occur when a foreign object enters your eye. Keratitis can trigger serious complications that may permanently damage your vision.
Symptoms of Keratitis include:
Causes of Keratitis
If untreated, keratitis can cause:
Blepharitis is an eye infection that occurs due to an inflammation of the eyelids. It affects both eyes on the edges of the eyelids. Blepharitis eye infection occurs when the tiny oil gland at the base of the eyelashes becomes clogged, triggering irritation and redness.
Blepharitis doesn’t look good on your eyes and creates an uncomfortable feeling. Fortunately, it doesn’t cause permanent damage to your vision.
The infection causes the eyelids to become irritated and itchy. It also appears greasy and develops crusts and scales that stick to the eyelids. Individuals with blepharitis sometimes wake up with their eyelids stuck together.
In other instances, infected persons wake up with dried tears around their eyes and a feeling of sand in their eyes.
Symptoms of blepharitis include:
There isn’t an apparent cause of blepharitis; however, it may be associated with one of the following:
Uveitis is an eye infection that causes inflammation in the middle of the eye(uveitis). Signs of uveitis come up suddenly, with the condition worsening quickly.
There are different types of uveitis depending on the infected part of the eye:
Uveitis can develop into a severe infection likely to cause permanent vision loss. Early treatment and diagnosis can prevent complications and preserve your vision.
Here are the common symptoms of uveitis:
If left untreated, uveitis can cause many complications, including permanent vision loss, retinal swelling, cataracts, optic nerve damage, retinal detachment, and permanent vision loss.
Other eye infections include:
A healthcare professional can tell if you have an eye infection by examining the eye. They may also ask you about your symptoms and recent health history.
Although rare, a healthcare professional can request to take the liquid that drains from the eye for lab analysis or culture. A healthcare provider requests a culture test if they suspect a high-risk cause or when displaying severe symptoms.
The treatment of an eye infection depends on its cause. For instance, if bacteria has caused the virus, the healthcare provider may prescribe the medication in various forms, including ointments, eyedrops, or tablets.
Antibacterial medications work within 24-48 hours, with a severe infection taking more days to heal.
If an allergic reaction triggers the eye infection, the healthcare provider may prescribe an eye drop medication to calm the eye. Medicines that control allergic reactions include antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers.
Alternatively, physicians may prescribe steroids, anti-inflammatory drops, or steroids to control inflammation.
You can also calm down irritating eye infection symptoms using the following home remedies:
You can take the following steps to reduce the risk of eye infections:
People who have an ongoing allergy problem may become used to eye irritation. However, seeking a doctor’s advice for an eye condition causing pain or discomfort is helpful.
If it is an injury, you need immediate medical help. More importantly, early diagnosis and timely treatment are effective strategies to avoid complications that may lead to vision loss. If your symptoms don’t improve within 12-24 hours, book another appointment with your doctor to rule out the possibility of a complication.
Eye infections cause troubling symptoms, including eye pain, redness, sticky eyelids, and inflammation. Although there’s a fair chance for recovery, eye infections cause complications or vision loss if left untreated.
With that in mind, consider seeking timely and quality treatment from an experienced physician for a better health outcome.
Newport Urgent Care Center has a team of highly qualified and board-certified physicians ready to treat you.
Contact us online or call us at 949.752.6300 to book an appointment.