Eye Infection: common types, causes, and general guidelines for treatment
Your sight is an incredibly important sense. Without your sight, your life would drastically change. Because of this, it is very important to take good care of your eyes. If you think you have contracted an eye infection, make an appointment to see your eye doctor. Many of our home remedies can help to alleviate pain and speed the healing process, but there is no substitute for a trained professional opinion.
An eye infection triggered by viruses, fungus, allergies or bacteria can affect anyone – from the infants to elderly people. There are many types of eye infection. Many factors can be responsible for an eye infection including traumas, immune deficiencies, surgeries, and bad hygiene habits.
The most common types of eye infections
According to WebMD, the most widespread types of eye infections are:
- Pink eye or conjunctivitis – triggered by certain bacteria or allergic reactions. The signs of pink eye include mild-to-moderate reddening of the eyes, irritation, and sometimes burning.
- Stye or hordeolum – this eye infection can be caused by staphylococcal bacteria living on the skin surface. The signs of styes are red lumps at the base of an eyelash or on the eyelid, itchiness, and mild pain.
- Blepharitis – another common eye infection that may happen when the oil glands near the base of the eyelashes become clogged.
- Keratitis – this type of eye infection can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or certain parasites after getting a foreign contaminated body or object in the eye. The symptoms of keratitis are similar to the signs of pink eye.
Major causes of eye infections
If you are wondering what causes a pink eye infection or any other type, check the following common reasons:
- Common colds;
- Touching an infected object or person, including sharing pillows, towels, handkerchiefs, and cosmetic products;
- Infected contact lenses caused by the improper use or storage;
- Wearing contact lenses for a long period of time;
- Allergies to some foods or antibiotic eye drops;
- Getting a foreign object in the eye;
- Certain chemicals;
- Eye traumas or surgeries;
- Clogged oil glands;
- Inflammation and swelling around the eyes.
Common symptoms of all eye infections
Many types of eye infections may have the following symptoms:
- Burning sensation in the affected eye;
- Irritation, especially if you have something in the eye;
- Mild-to-moderate pain;
- Thick yellowish-green discharge;
- Dry eyes;
- Mild-to-moderate itching;
- Red eyes;
- Inflammation of the eyes;
- Swollen eyelids.
General guidelines for eye infection treatment
The choice of the sore eyes treatment mostly depends on the type of an eye infection.
For example, for conjunctivitis treatment, health care specialists may prescribe some ointments or topical medications in order to combat the bacterial infection. Conjunctivitis can be highly contagious. That is why your eye doctor may recommend avoiding any personal contact while getting pink eye treatment.
Blepharitis and styes, as well as bacterial conjunctivitis, may be also cured by using antibacterial eye drops like these:
- Penicillin G aqueous.
Improper use of these eye drops for a pink eye may only worsen the symptoms. Consult a doctor before applying any medicine for pink eye or any other eye infection. Also, keep in mind that using a medicinal ointment may blur your vision for 20-30 minutes.
Conventional remedies for the different types of pink eye infections
According to the experts from Healthline and Mayo Clinic, the treatment of pink eye mainly depends on the disease’ type. There are 3 common types of conjunctivitis a.k.a. pink eye:
Bacterial pink eye therapy
The team of Mayo Clinic assures that more than 50% of all bacterial pink eye cases can disappear naturally, without any special treatment. However, if you take an antibiotic, its action may speed up this process. In this case, a doctor will probably prescribe antibiotic ointment or eye drops. If the medication was assigned properly, you may start feeling better in a few days.
Following your doctor’s recommendations is recommended because, otherwise, you may worsen the eye condition. It is also important to use the prescribed medications for the complete term. Taking the full course of an antibiotic remedy may prevent the recurring eye infection.
Treating viral pink eye
Just like with the previous type, no special treatment is required for the mild cases of viral conjunctivitis. However, your health care specialist may recommend using an antiviral drug if pink eye was triggered by the virus of Herpes Simplex.
Commonly, viral pink eye starts on one eye and then infect the other one, within several days. The virus may run over during 2 weeks and the symptoms will slowly go away. But if you want to speed the treatment, consult a doctor.
Conventional remedies for allergic conjunctivitis
Those people who suffer from allergic conjunctivitis can use the special prescription eye drops with an anti-allergic effect. Only a professional doctor may recommend the best eye drops in each individual case. Usually, these drops are the combination of mast cell stabilizers and antihistamines. To control the eye inflammation (common symptom for the allergic pink eye), you may also need to take or apply the decongestant drugs, steroids, or anti-inflammatory eye drops.
How can you prevent the spread of eye infections?
As soon as you start feeling the itchiness, burning, or irritation in the eyes, consider using one of these methods:
- Rinse the eyes with pure rosewater or just cold water a few times throughout the day;
- Pull out the contact lenses and stop wearing them for a while;
- Wash off the make-up;
- Before touching the affected eye, apply a hand sanitizer;
- Try not to touch or squeeze a stye, leave it to drain by itself.
As for the common preventive measures, try sticking to these rules for lessening the risk of getting eye infections:
- Wash the hands as frequently as possible;
- When swimming, use protective eye goggles;
- Do not to share towels, handkerchiefs, and eye cosmetics with people who have infections;
- Try not to share bedding and change the pillow covers more frequently;
- Some perfumes and soaps may cause allergic reactions or irritation of the eyes due to certain chemicals in their contents. If you have sensitive eyes, consider using the natural cosmetics and perfumery.
Keep in mind that the self-treatment of any eye infection can be very dangerous. In some cases, if you have a serious eye infection, you may also experience the accompanying symptoms like high fever, severe light sensitivity, wheezing, shortness of breath, severe eye pain, swollen face, and bulged eyes. Seek medical assistance as soon as you have these symptoms.