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Complete Guide To Eye Infections:

by Eric Gathoni

Complete Guide To Eye Infections:

Most of those viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi that may infect the human body can also infect the eye's surface or inside. There are two types of infectious eye disorders.

To begin, clinicians usually refer to the infected or inflamed region of the eye. For example, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the lining; the membrane layer covers the front ocular surface and the inner layer of the eyelid. The eyelid (blepharitis), the corneal (keratitis), the fluid inside the eyes (vitritis), the retina as well as the blood vessels that supply it (chorioretinitis), and the optic nerve are all possible sites of inflammation (neuroretinitis). These are only a few instances; the eye is indeed a multi-part complicated organ.

Secondly, eye infections are categorized based on the source of the infection. For example, a fungus causes ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS) (the condition is a type of chorioretinitis). It usually targets the retina's blood supply, which is located on the eye's inner back surface.

Conjunctivitis, caused by an adenovirus, is the most common eye infection (a type of common cold virus). Pinkeye is a term used to describe infectious conjunctivitis that is most common among children. Because the virus can move from the eye to hands, which subsequently contact door handles and other places that other people use, viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious.

Infectious conjunctivitis can also be caused by germs such as Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial infections are most common in youngsters and are associated with pinkeye that lasts longer. To facilitate quick detection and treatment, parents should be informed of the symptoms of an eye infection.

Infections of the eyes can be dangerous and result in permanent visual loss. When germs infect the eye or the surrounding areas, effective treatment is always required.

The good news is that eye infections are easy to notice, so you can get help right away.

Causes of eye problems

Pinkeye is caused by infectious conjunctivitis, which is the most prevalent cause of pinkeye all over the world. Infectious conjunctivitis has a variety of causes, which can be classed as viral, bacterial, or fungal. Even though it is the most common cause, there are several other causes of eye infections as follows:

  • Conjunctivitis can be caused by chlamydia and gonorrhea, two incredibly common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Contaminated persons rub their eyes after contacting infected genital areas, and the illness enters the eye directly through genital fluids like semen. Babies delivered to genitally infected mothers are particularly susceptible to ocular infection. One of the very few microorganisms designed to penetrate the insulating barrier of the eye and cause inner-eye infection is Neisseria gonorrhoeae. 

  • Histoplasmosis is a fungus that infects the lungs and is spread by inhaling spores. Ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS) is caused by inhaling spores. Approximately 60% to 90% of people with this disorder have already been exposed to the fungi at some point in their lives. The majority of infections are asymptomatic and resolve on their own. The fungus can migrate to the eye many decades or centuries later in a small percentage of patients. It affects the retina, particularly the macula, once it gets there (the vital center part where the vision cells are most concentrated). It mimics macular degeneration in terms of symptoms and retinal deterioration, and it can damage the central area of the field of vision. Although only a small percentage of patients with histoplasmosis develop OHS, the fungus is so widespread that OHS is an infectious and chronic cause of vision impairment in Africans, especially Kenyans. If somebody with a background of histoplasmosis notices any abnormalities in their vision, they should see a doctor.

  • Bacterial keratitis is a corneal infection caused by bacteria commonly found on the skin, in the mouth, and in the nose. These bacteria normally cannot reach the outermost part of the eye and merely cause conjunctivitis. Injury to the eye, oxygen deprivation due to prescription lenses, infection from wearing eye lenses for too long, or a weakened immune system can all make it easier for bacteria to enter the corneal, the clear layer in front of the eye. In similar situations, fungi cause fungal keratitis.

  • Blepharitis is an infection of the eyelids, which are the folds of skin that protect your eyes. The blocking of the sebaceous gland inside the eye skin at the bottom of your eyelashes is the most common cause of this sort of irritation. Bacteria may be the cause of blepharitis.

Blepharitis symptoms include:

  • eyelid or eye redness, itching, and swelling of the eyelids, as well as eyelid oiliness

  • Burning sensation in your eyes, as if something is stuck in your eyes

  • Extra tears than usual leathery texture on your lashes or corner of your eyes due to light sensitivity

Blepharitis is more prone to developing if you-

  • have dandruff on your scalp or brows, 

  • are allergic to eye or face cosmetics, or have clogged oil glands

  • eyelashes infested with lice or mites

  • if you're using any immune-suppressing medicines

  • Shingles (herpes zoster, varicella-zoster) are a reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox in the first place. Shingles are contagious sores that can spread to others and cause chickenpox. If you contact your eyes after contacting a sore, you could get an ocular infection. Although herpes simplex is the most prevalent cause of severe retinal atrophy in youngsters, varicella-zoster is the most common cause in persons over 50 due to the prevalence of shingles in this age group.

Symptoms of an eye infection

There can be a lot of symptoms of an eye infection. Since the number of probable infections is very high in numbers, so are their symptoms as well. Here are some of the most common symptoms of eye infections based on their infections-

The following are some of the most common symptoms of conjunctivitis:

  • Itching and redness

  • Viral conjunctivitis and Bacterial conjunctivitis: discharge is frequently watery or mucous-like. The discharge is thick and white, yellow, or green in color.

  • It feels like sand is in the eye, and the eyelid is crusting over.

The following are some of the most typical symptoms of keratitis as well as other frontal eye infections:

  • Photosensitivity is characterized by pain, itching, or the feeling of a foreign entity in the eye (aversion to bright light). They can also happen due to bad eye lenses.

  • Redness or little red lines in the white of the eye release yellow or green pus that makes the eyes crusty when you wake up — this could be an indication of a bacterial infection.

  • swollen eyelids tears

  • flashing that isn't voluntary (blepharospasm)

  • vision impairment

Disorders that affect the retina, visual cortex, or the arteries that nourish them are frequently painless. The main symptom are-

  1. Blurred vision, which can typically be stopped but not reversed. That is why it is critical to have your eyes examined on a regular basis. Floaters, microscopic pieces in the fluid inside the eye, are one possible indication of internal eye damage.

  2. Microbubbles or dark specks fall through your range of view slowly. Everybody has a few bubbles; only if you observe a dramatic rise in them should you be concerned. Even if it's only a cold, mostly all eye infections are accompanied by sickness in another region of the body. Some, but not all, of these illnesses have distinct signs and symptoms. 

  3. Damage to the retina and the production of scars or ulcers in the cornea, both of which can hinder vision, are major complications of eye infection. Glaucoma can be caused by some illnesses, such as syphilis. Furthermore, eye issues are frequently the sole visible sign of a larger infection. Chlamydia, for example, generally has no genital symptoms but, if left untreated, can lead to infertility and heart disease.

  4. Also, if you have reading glasses, then it is important to get your eye tested regularly.

How to tell if your child has an eye infection?

Children suffer most from eye infections because their immune systems are weaker than mature adults. So it is very critical to keep an eye on them. If you notice any of the following symptoms, then there might be a chance that your child has a problem in his or her eyes-

  • Green, yellow, or bloody discharge is one of the most common types of discharge.

  • After waking up after a nap, your eyelids are stuck together, red eyes or eyelids

  • Having the sensation that something is caught in your eye

  • Pain in the eyes

  • An iris sore that is white or gray in color.

  • Light sensitivity has increased.

  • Vision becomes fuzzy suddenly.

  • Fever without a known cause

  • If he/she has a problem reading through the reading glasses.

Treatment if you have an eye infection

  1. The appearance of the eye's surface and retina, the progression of the disease, whether in one eyeball or both and your medical history are all used by ophthalmologists and optometrists to recognize various eye infections. For seeing the cornea and retina, a variety of illuminated equipment is available.

  2. If there is pus or secretion from the eye, the organism can be identified by culture. You may also be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes simplex, among other disorders.

  3. Without therapy, viral conjunctivitis normally clears up in a few days. Most cases of eye infections or keratitis can be treated with broad-spectrum antibiotic eye drops, whereas gonorrhea and chlamydia require specific medications. All of these illnesses are treatable.

  4. The majority of fungal and parasite illnesses can be treated with a variety of drugs. Histoplasma, on the other hand, can't even be identified in the retina, despite the obvious fact it's there. The only currently available therapy is infrared cauterization of the afflicted area, which significantly delays the macula's deterioration (the center of the retina). This procedure is performed in the hopes of preserving existing vision, albeit it may result in some visual loss. It is frequently necessary to repeat it numerous times. Even while new treatment procedures are being researched, there still is no way to restore the damage that has already been done.

  5. Herpes simplex cannot be completely removed from the body, although flare-ups inside the eye can typically be treated with topical or oral antiviral drugs. If the infection has caused extensive scarring or visual loss, a cornea transplant may be required. Before eye problems heal up, serious diseases including TB, syphilis, and toxoplasmosis must be treated for the entire body.

  6. Hand washing is crucial in preventing the transmission of bacteria that might cause infection. To prevent the transmission of an eye infection, never share towels, pillowcases, washcloths, or makeup.

Unless you avoid endemic locations, there isn't much you can do to avoid an illness like histoplasmosis (areas where the fungus is found, such as river valleys). Many eye problems, however, are actually consequences of sexual transmission or genital diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, crabs, herpes simplex, thrush, or hepatitis B. If you do have herpes simplex, don't touch your eye if you have a cold sore or blister that is active.

When should you see your optometrist?

If you have the following symptoms, be sure to check it out by an optometrist-

  • Recurrent eye disorders include eye pain, blurred vision, significant redness, and persistent discharge from the eye.

  • Changes in pupil size 

  • Recent injury to the eye 

  • Sensitivity to light 

  • Eye disorders combined with a chronic illness such as diabetes

  • Symptoms last for more than two days, and homecare remedies are not working

  • The treatment makes the condition worse

  • If there has been no treatment for more than 3 days and still the condition is not improving on its own


Eye infections can range from pretty common ones to difficult ones. But with the right treatment, you will always be protected.Get regular checkups by booking an eye test at your nearest Optica branch so that your eye infection does not get out of hand. Also, if you feel you have a problem with your eye, look at the above-mentioned symptoms to get a better idea.