What You Need To Know About Treating An Eye Infection
If harmful microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria or fungi enter your eye, you may very well develop an infection. If this happens, your body will alert you with some of these signs and symptoms of eye infection:
- Swelling around the eyes
- Eye discharge
- Light sensitivity
- Watery eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Blurry vision
- Red eyes
- Dry eyes
It is imperative that you not waste time with home remedies if any of these symptoms appear. Instead, you should see your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment. Doing so could save your eyesight.
While you are waiting for your doctor’s appointment, you should take good care of your eyes by getting plenty of rest and avoiding wearing contact lenses. It is wise to avoid eye makeup as well when your eyes are irritated and inflamed.
Why Is A Medical Diagnosis So Important?
Because you may be suffering from a bacterial, viral or fungal infection it is very important that you be seen by a professional who can pinpoint the problem and address it correctly. Of these three categories of infection, there are dozens of sub-types. Without a professional diagnosis, you are likely to waste a great deal of time and money on ineffective treatment while risking your eyesight in the process.
What Will My Doctor Do?
There are a number of tests that can be run to determine what type of infection you have. For example, your doctor may swab some fluid from your eye and send it off to the lab to determine what sort of infection you have. Based on this information (and information contained in your file) your doctor will create a treatment plan that is sure to include antibiotics.
Why Do People Get Eye Infections?
There are so many different ways to contract an eye infection that it actually makes more sense to ask why more people don’t get them. Eye infections are usually very contagious, most people have had some experience with them. Here are some of the most common varieties:
- Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – Teachers, day-care workers and children in school or day care are especially susceptible to this. Good hygiene (e.g. hand washing) and maintaining a clean environment can go far to prevent spreading this virus.
- Ocular Herpes results from being exposed to Herpes simplex.
- Fungal Keratitis is caused by the Fusarium fungi, which is harbored by organic matter. Use of contaminated contact lens care products caused an outbreak of this infection in 2006. It is also possible to contract this infection if your eye is injured by a tree branch or twig.
- Acanthamoeba Keratitis is common among contact lens wearers who do not follow lens hygiene best practices. If you do not keep your lenses clean and/or if you wear your lenses while you sleep, swim or use a hot tub, you are likely to contract this parasitic infection.
- Trachoma is common in areas that do not have proper sanitation. It is spread by flies and can cause blindness
- Endophthalmitis is the result of an acute, penetrating injury to the eye. If serious injury is not followed up swiftly with a vigorous course of antibiotic treatments, the risk of this type of infection is between 4 and 8%.
- Mold related endophthalmitis is more common in tropical regions where mold is prevalent and encounters with it are frequent.
Treating Eye Infections
The best way to deal with eye infections is to avoid them by following good hygiene practices, taking good care of yourself and staying safe and healthy. Additionally, avoid contact with people who have eye infections and wash up thoroughly after such an encounter. These common sense habits will go far to protect you against infections and illnesses of all kinds.
See Your Doctor!
If you should happen to contract an eye infection, don’t take any chances. You will surely need prescription medication such as:
- Antibiotic compresses, drops or ointment
- Oral anti-viral meds
- Steroid eye drops
- Oral antibiotics
Although viruses typically run their course and resolve on their own, steroid drops, carefully administered help reduce pain and inflammation and shorten recovery time. Additionally, diagnosis of an eye infection should never involve guesswork. What you believe to be a viral infection may very well be a bacterial or fungal infection. Failure to treat it could cause you to lose your eyesight.