Eye infections can affect any part of the eye. They can be caused by fungal, bacterial or viral infections. Sometimes allergies, environmental factors and excess straining of the eyes can cause eye infections. Contact lens usage increases the chances of eye infection as it reduces the oxygen supply to the cornea or due to fungal or bacterial build up due to poor disinfection of the lens. It can affect a single eye or both the eyes at the time.
Some of the common symptoms of eye infection are blurry vision, red eyes, watery discharge, constant irritation, pain in the eye and inflammation of the eye lids. The treatment for infections of the eye depends on the cause and the severity of the infections.
Common Eye Infections
Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
As the name suggests, this infection affects the conjunctiva or the outer layer of the eye ball. It is commonly called pink eye disorder as the white portion of the eye appears reddish or pink in colour. The causes for conjunctivitis are many; viral and bacterial infections, allergens in the air like pollen grains, adverse reaction to contact lens usage, lack of hygienic habits like regular hand washing or cleaning your contact lens at frequent intervals and by touching or using articles that were used by people with eye infection.
Conjunctivitis is a contagious disease and can spread from one person to another or from one eye to another. The symptom of this infection lasts for 7 to 10 days. The treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the type of infection. Sometimes no medication is suggested other than rest to the affected eye for a week. In case of bacterial conjunctivitis, an antibiotic is suggested to curb the infection. Eye drops are the usual medication prescribed to cure conjunctivitis.
Blepharitis or Eye Lid Inflammation
Blepharitis is a bacterial infection that is not contagious. It results in the inflammation of the eye lids and the release of dandruff like particles from the infected eye. They may stick to the eye lashes and obstruct the vision. Lubricating ointments, antibiotics, warm compress and eye massage to drain the obstruction are some of the solutions for eye lid inflammation.
This infection is caused by the obstruction of the oil producing glands in the eye. It results in the swelling around the eye lashes or eye lids. It is not a painful condition and may disappear by itself in a few days. Warm compress helps relieve the irritation due to stye. In some cases, use of eye drops or surgical removal of the blocks may be suggested. Better hygienic practices, washing your hands before touching the eye, cleaning your contact lenses properly and using clean towels and bed linen are suggested to avoid stye. Stye is not contagious.
How to Prevent Eye Infection?
Better hygiene is the primary factor that helps in avoiding eye infections. Wash your hands regularly and make sure that there is no dirt or work related residues in your hand before touching the eye. Take all necessary precautions while working with chemicals. Select your eye makeup carefully and do not compromise on the quality. Keep your contact lenses clean and use them as prescribed. Do not share eye drops and contact lenses with other people. Protect your eye appropriately in harsh environments and during climatic changes.