Your eyes are a delicate and important organ and an infection to the eye may lead to more serious complications, even blindness if not appropriately treated by your optometrist in Elkton & Clarksville. There are a variety of factors responsible for causing an eye infection, but most types of eye infections are caused by viruses, fungus or bacteria. Certain types of eye infections are common, while other types are rare. Here are the different types of eye infections, the symptoms of an eye infection and the available treatment options.
Types of Eye Infection
An eye infection can be caused by various things, such as touching your eyes with dirty hands, certain medical conditions and dirty contact lenses. People using contact lenses are actually more vulnerable to an eye infection, because of the continuous wearing the lenses, especially without disinfecting, which provides a better opportunity for bacterial growth. It is common for people to mistake an eye infection for a cold or allergies since the symptoms are often similar. If you have changes in your eyes that you assume are due to a cold or allergies, it is important to visit Sites Vision Clinic for an exam to determine why you are experiencing the symptoms. Some of the types of an eye infection include:
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the white part of your eye and the inside of your eyelid. Conjunctivitis is the most common type of eye infection, especially in children.
- Sty is a clogged eyelash follicle or oil gland
- Blepharitis is an inflammation along the rim of your eye
- Cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection of tissue that can affect both your eyes and your skin
- Bacterial keratitis is a bacterial infection of your cornea (the round, clear dome that covers the iris and pupil)
- Corneal ulcer, which an open sore on the cornea
- Herpes keratitis, which is a viral infection of your eye caused by the herpes simplex virus
- Trachoma is an infection caused by a bacterium known as Chlamydia trachomatis. This type of infection generally affects both eyes and it is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness.
Symptoms of Eye Infections
It is important to know and recognize the signs and symptoms of an eye infection so you don’t mistake the symptoms of allergies or another condition. Mistaking an eye infection for something else will prevent you from seeking medical attention from your optometrist in Elkton & Clarksville, which means a delay in treatment and the symptoms worsen. Symptoms of an eye infection may include:
- Swollen eyelids - although this may be a sign of several types of eye problems, it is definitely a sign of an eye infection if eyelids are swollen and painful. Swollen and painful eyelids may be caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, often times from unclean contact lenses.
- Eye discharge - this is a telltale sign of a bacterial infection in your eye. If you wake up with a discharge in the corner of your eye or crusty eyelids, it is a serious symptom of an eye infection, so you should visit your optometrist as soon as possible.
- Blurred vision - not only is this annoying, but it may also be a sign of an eye infection and if left untreated the infection may worsen, which could lead to loss of vision.
- Redness - although redness of the eye is common with allergies and colds, it is also the most common symptom of an eye infection.
- Continuous itching - this is also a common sign of allergies, but in an eye infection, the itchiness is due to a contact between your eye and bacteria. An itchy eye is a sign of a pink eye, which is highly contagious, so it is important to have your itchy eyes examined by an optometrist.
- Watery eyes - this symptom is commonly mistaken for allergies, but watery eyes may be caused by a clogged tear duct or another type of eye infection.
- Light sensitivity - sunlight, fluorescent and incandescent lights can cause sensitivity when your eye is inflamed or irritated from an eye infection.
- Flaking eyelids - also known as granulated eyelids is a symptom of blepharitis, which is an eye infection caused by bacterial or skin conditions. It can be caused by oily eye glands, allergies and/or lack of hygiene.
- Blocked tear duct - if you have chronic eye infections it may cause your tear ducts to become blocked or clogged, which ultimately cause continuous eye infections.
The treatment for an eye infection depends on the type and cause of the eye infection. A visit to Sites Vision Clinic will allow your optometrist to exam your eye and determine the best treatment option for you, which typically involves the use of eye drops. Your optometrist may also talk with you about certain dietary supplements and/or personal hygiene that may play a role in the prevention of eye infections. It is important to keep in mind that eye infections are typically transferable from person to person, so it is extremely important to wash your hands before touching your eyes, especially after being in public places.
If you suspect you may have an eye infection, contact Sites Vision Clinic today to schedule an exam at (931) 647-5237.