WHAT IS AN Eye Infection?
With only a few exceptions, most infections of the eye are viral conditions passed on from friends or family who have the infection. In nearly all cases, they are spread from one individual to the next when one of them wipes their eyes without washing their hands. Eye infections may be produced by viruses, fungi, or bacteria and are usually highly contagious. Individuals who develop eye infections often have discomfort, redness, a grittiness sensation, and itchiness in the eyes. If neglected, eye infections may also result in temporary vision loss.
Infections of the eye can develop symptoms that range from mild to extreme. In addition, their levels of potential harm can fall anywhere from innocuous to very concerning. Quite a few can be resolved with over-the-counter remedies, and others will resolve on their own; however, certain eye infections can be much more serious and require treatment from an experienced medical professional.
If you believe that you or your child has contracted an eye infection, schedule an appointment at The Eye Center of Central PA. Our board-certified optometrists and ophthalmologists have years of expertise and a long background in diagnosing and healing both familiar and uncommon forms of eye infections for adults and children throughout Central PA.
Common Eye Infections
The following is a list of just a few of the most routine kinds of infections that affect the eye. It's a good idea for patients to be able to recognize the different signs and symptoms. If you suspect that you could be experiencing one of these conditions, we encourage you to seek treatment by arranging a visit to The Eye Center of Central PA as soon as possible. The key to healing an infection is a timely diagnosis.
While typically occurring after the age of 30, blepharitis can affect individuals of all ages. Blepharitis is usually the result of bacteria, but it will sometimes also stem from infection, fungi, or dry eye syndrome. The predominant symptom is oozing discharge that dries into a flaky film on the eyelids. Individuals who have blepharitis often also have watering, itching, and stinging eyes. People who have psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or ocular rosacea have an elevated risk of getting this infection. Thankfully, there are quite a few in-office methods available to deal with blepharitis.
- Pink eye
Commonly known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is possibly the most frequently contracted eye infection. Conjunctivitis is nearly always the result of a virus or bacteria, and it is highly contagious. The main indicators of conjunctivitis are red, itchy eyes with greenish discharge. In cases where conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can be very beneficial.
- Eye abscess
Sometimes referred to as corneal ulcers, eye abscesses are essentially unhealed lesions of the cornea. They may develop due to trauma or if bacteria or a foreign object (such as sand) scratches the cornea. It is critical that patients receive treatment promptly to prevent corneal scarring, which could result in partial blindness.
- Eyelid lesion
An eyelid lesion develops when there is a change in the lid as a result of disease or trauma. There are many forms of eyelid lesions that a patient can develop with most of them being harmless or benign. Some may appear pigmented. To accurately assess your eyelid lesion, our ophthalmologists may biopsy the tissue and have the cells tested if we deem it necessary. A few of the benign forms of eyelid lesions include papillomas, actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratoses, and hemangioma.
- Styes and chalazia
Many people mix up styes and chalazia due to the fact that each of them is eyelid conditions that are very similar in appearance and symptoms and are both types of eyelid lesions. Nevertheless, chalazia and styes are distinct types of infections. A stye occurs if bacteria makes its way into any one of your eyelash follicles. Then, an inflamed, cyst-like nodule typically grows, externally or under the eyelid, at the lash line. Styes can be small or large and can cause higher or lower levels of irritation, depending on their size and location. A chalazion, however, is an obstructed or irritated eyelid oil gland; consequently, they generally do not appear on the eyelashes. Chalazia almost always grow quite slowly but can gradually grow to the size of a pea. Chalazia do not cause discomfort. However, if they are left untreated and become substantial enough, they could get in the way of your line of vision.
Whenever anyone develops inflammation in the uvea (the interior layer of the eye wall), it is called uveitis. Uveitis is generally associated with autoimmune disease, but it can also be the result of a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection. It has the potential to cause trauma to eye tissue and lead to vision loss. It is usually easy to identify by the excessive eye redness, light sensitivity, and ocular pain. Though it is very important to treat the symptoms, it is also important to identify and manage its actual cause.
Symptoms FOR EYE INFECTIONS
Though infections of the eye are very common and quite treatable, even the slightest infection can lead to a great deal of pain. Individuals with eye infections may develop symptoms that might be mild to severe and may include irritated, aching, teary eyes, swollen eyelids, and thick discharge. Some types of infections, such as styes, can cause a lump on the eyelid. Although the loss of vision is unusual with many kinds of eye infections, this could happen if an infection has progressed tremendously. This is why it's critical to seek medical help from an ophthalmologist if you have persistent eye infection symptoms.
WHAT Causes AN EYE INFECTION?
Almost all standard eye infections are caused by bacteria, a virus, or a fungus. They are most commonly passed on and caught by children and adults who come into contact with one of these pathogens and then touch their eyes before washing their hands. Some individuals could develop certain eye infections more often if they wear contact lenses. Therefore, it is crucial that you completely wash your hands before putting in or taking out your contacts. In addition, you should never share eye cosmetics. It is important to discard all of these items and not keep using them if you do get an eye infection.
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Common Eye Infections Diagnosis
Schedule an eye screening at The Eye Center of Central PA as soon as you experience the symptoms of an eye infection. We will talk to you about your unique circumstance and perform a physical assessment of your eye. We might also have to order diagnostic tests to establish the type of infection you have developed, which could include extracting a tiny specimen of the area. This procedure is very quick and painless because the eye will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Pinpointing the type and cause of your infection is critical to establish your treatment regimen and avoid infections later on.
Common Eye Infections Treatment Options
Once our team conducts a thorough eye evaluation, we should be able to determine the most effective protocol to alleviate your eye infection. Your treatment approach will depend on the kind of eye infection it is. If your infection is bacterial, we might offer you treatment with oral or eye-drop form antibiotics. If there is serious swelling, we may use eye drops or injections that contain cortisone or a steroid. For patients with a stye or chalazion that doesn't seem to be going away, laser treatment or minimally invasive surgical intervention may be the best method.
Relief For Eye Infections
Despite the fact that eye infections are mostly harmless, they have the potential to be very threatening, and it can be difficult to know which kind of infection you have without specialized help. If you develop an eye infection, or if you get anything in your eye, you should seek out professional care as soon as possible, particularly if it is producing stinging or inflammation. At The Eye Center of Central PA, our team is carefully trained and extensively experienced in diagnosing and treating eye infections and providing relief for your symptoms.