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Eye infections occur when harmful microorganisms invade the eyeball or tissue surrounding the eye. These microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, can cause highly contagious infections and uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, treatment for eye infections can reduce symptoms and prevent further damage. Prompt treatment reduces the risk for spreading the infection to others.
Eye infections can affect various parts of your eye, and can affect just one eye or both eyes. Infections can occur in the clear front surface of the eye, known as the cornea, or in the thin membrane lining the outer eye. You can even develop an infection on the conjunctiva, which is the inner part of your eyelids.
There are several types of infections but there are two common eye infections:
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye, is a very contagious infection occurring in the conjunctiva. Children frequently contract conjunctivitis in classrooms, daycare centers and other similar environments. Teachers and childcare professionals who work in close quarters with children are also vulnerable to conjunctivitis.
A stye is a tender, red bump on the eyelid that develops when bacteria enters the hair follicle of an eyelash. Styes can occur when transfer staphlococcal bacteria, commonly found in the nose, when you touch your nose before rubbing your eye. While styes can make your eyelid swell, they do not usually cause vision problems.
Symptoms of eye infections include redness, itching, swelling, discharge, pain, and vision problems.
Complications can occur, especially without proper diagnosis and treatment. Infection can invade the tear glands in the eyes to cause inflammation and blockage of the eye’s tear drainage system. Infection can also cause corneal ulcer, which resembles an abscess on the eye. Corneal ulcer can lead to severe loss of vision.
More severe eye infections can penetrate the deeper, interior portions of the eye. These infections can develop into sight-threatening conditions, such as endophthalmitis that affects the inside of the eye. Orbital cellulitis is an infection of the soft tissues surrounding the eye that can potentially spread if left untreated.
Fortunately, most eye infections clear up with prompt treatment and do not cause complications or long-lasting problems.
Treatment in College Station for eye infections usually depend on the cause of the infection but may include eye drops, creams, compresses or, in some cases, antibiotics. Eye infections caused by bacteria may require prescription antibiotic treatment, while those infections caused by viruses respond to anti-viral eye drops. Steroid eye drops can reduce inflammation in viral eye infections.
Treatment always starts with a thorough examination by a licensed eye care professional. Our optometrist can diagnose your eye condition and suggest a safe, effective treatment. We will also give you tips on how to avoid spreading your eye infection to others and how to prevent eye infections in the future.
If you think you may have an eye infection, make an appointment with our optometrist at Crystal Vision Center.