Eye infections: Symptoms, types and preventive measures

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Eye infections

Although eye infections are temporary, they are highly unpleasant and may even affect your vision. These infections occur when bacteria or fungi invade the eye tissues or the area surrounding them. 

The good thing is that most of these infections are easily treatable and rarely turn into something severe. However, knowing the symptoms and causes will help you know what you could do about them.

Symptoms of eye infections 

Here are the major signs that your eyes have an infection.

  • Redness in the eye
  • Pain 
  • Itchy eye
  • Dry or watery eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Swollen eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye discharge

If you spot these warning signs, seek medical aid. Consult your eye doctor and have an eye exam. Diagnosing the problem early helps in timely treatment and reduces the risk of complications. 

If you wear contacts, switch to glasses immediately as contact lenses only make infections worse. Glasses are safer than contacts as they don’t touch the surface of your eyes and cause no further damage.

Your eye doctor will examine your eyes and proceed with the right treatment based on the type of infection you have contracted.

Types of eye infections 

Conjunctivitis or pink eye

This is the most common type of eye infection that occurs when the conjunctiva (the thin membrane on your eye) gets invaded by bacteria or a virus.

As a result, your eyes start to burn due to increased inflammation and turn red or pink. This problem is also caused due to the contact of eyes with chlorine water. 

So, when you are going to a pool party this summer, don’t forget to take your swimming glasses with you. You can easily buy these glasses from online stores.

Keratitis

Keratitis is the infection of the cornea (a thin layer that covers your pupils). This is most common in people who frequently use contacts or live in humid areas. 

If you wear contact lenses, make sure you switch to glasses from time to time to lower your risk of keratitis. Glasses frames are stylish and also protect your eyes from environmental pollutants (one of the biggest causes of ocular infections).

Endophthalmitis 

This occurs due to high inflammation levels in your eyes. Invasion of bacteria or fungus can trigger this infection. It is also one of the rare complications of eye surgeries such as cataracts.

If a foreign object has entered your eye, do not try to remove it yourself. Go to an eye specialist and let them take care of it.

Blepharitis 

This problem occurs when the oil glands in your eyelids are clogged. It is generally caused by bacteria and leads to swollen eyes to a point where you may not be even able to open your eyes. 

Blepharitis can make you sensitive to light. You need to shut down your digital screens and give your eyes a break. Wear blue light glasses to block the harsh light coming from your home lighting. Exposure to this light can cause further discomforts in your infected eye. Blue light glasses in the UK are available at affordable rates and high quality at online stores.

Sty

It refers to a small bump on the outer part of your eyelids. This happens when bacteria overgrows on the oil gland and blocks it completely.

The person will experience more tear production in case of a sty. See a doctor and seek the right treatment. This problem usually takes 7 to 10 days to disappear on its own. 

How to prevent eye infections?

Prevention is better than cure. Practising good eye hygiene and taking the necessary steps will keep you away from these infections. 

  • Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands.
  • Disinfect your hands frequently by using a hand sanitiser or hand wash.
  • Always use clean wipes or towels to pat your eyes.
  • Do not share your eye cosmetics with anyone.
  • Take breaks from contact lenses and wear glasses.
  • Use good-quality cheap glasses when swimming in the pool or playing water sports.
  • Clean your bed sheets and sofa slipcovers at least once a week.
  • Maintain distance from people who have these infections.
  • Disinfect your home regularly. 

The takeaway

Eye infections are temporary but highly uncomfortable. Although they disappear on their own, seeking medical help speeds up the recovery process and reduces the risk of any possible complication. 

In case you experience severe vision pain or loss of visual acuity due to the ocular infection, visit your eye doctor at once. Practice good hygiene so the infection doesn’t get spread to other people.