The Most Common Causes of Eye Infections

Replacemycontacts/ January 28, 2014/ Eye Health/

rubbing-eye1Just like all other bodily organs, our eyes are vulnerable to occasional malfunctions.  When our eyes fall ill, it is crucial to take the necessary steps in order to quickly and effectively nurse them back to health.  Indications of an eye infection can range from slight discomfort to severe pain, and can be anywhere from barely visible to an extreme reaction.  Common symptoms of an infection can include itching, swelling, increased sensitivity to light, hazy or decreased vision, secretion of watery discharge, or visible redness on white area of the eye. 

There are several ways in which an eye can catch an infection, but if you are proactive about maintaining its health, you can avoid an onset and ensure that your eyes live a long, healthy life.  Below are some common causes of an eye infection and tips on how to avoid them.

Three of the most common infections are blepharitis, keratitis, and conjunctivitis.  Blepharitis is an eye disorder that is usually linked to bacteria infections or skin disorders.  When the bacterium reaches the eye, it inflames the oil glands along the outer edges of the eyelids, sometimes forming dandruff-like scales.  Blepharitis, neither contagious nor permanently damaging to one’s eyesight, can usually be treated with hot compressing and a gentle eyelid cleansing.

Keratitis is a bacterial infection associated with the inflammation of the cornea and can cause pain, redness surrounding the pupil, hazy vision, tearing, or sensitivity to light.  This condition is often caused by dry eyes, a chemical or physical injury, or an underlying medical issue.  Keratitis can also crop up by wearing contacts for an extended length of time, and can be avoided.

Conjunctivitis, or more commonly known as pink eye, is a rather familiar ailment that most people have experienced at one point.  Though most commonly bacteria-triggered, pink eye can also be contracted from viruses or allergies.  It can be contracted simply by touching your eye with infected surface or object, resulting in an inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the outermost layer of the eyeball.  It is important to know that while allergic pink eye is not contagious, bacterial and viral pink eye is and can be spread very easily. If you do contract this condition, it’s a good idea to switch out your contact lenses for a fresh pair in once the symptoms have passed in order to not aggravate the infection once again. 

989211121_23849aec76Sometimes it only takes is a tiny spec entering the eye for it to form a full-blown infection.  Each day we are forced to face a dusty, gritty atmosphere, where it is extremely easy for tiny antagonists to invade and irritate our precious eyes.  Ironically enough, eyelashes—designed to protect our eyes from foreign objects—can also be a cause of infection if entered into the eye and left over time.  It is vital to immediately remove a foreign object once it is detected, as it could eventually pierce the outer layer, or cornea, and create an even larger problem.  Treatment for this type of infection is dependent on the type of object, and the degree of contact made.  Simply washing the eye with an eye wash solution or tap water can treat small particles, such as dust and grit.  For larger foreign objects, or if you feel something may have penetrated the eye, seek professional attention.

Being conscientious of the eyes’ susceptibilities will help ward off unwanted infections.  Never let anything that is prone to bacteria—which is just about everything—come in contact with your eyes.  Contact wearers should be especially conscientious of proper eye hygiene, seeing as they are more in direct contact with their eyes than non-contact wearers. It is important to be sure sure that lenses are removed with clean fingers, and stored in sanitary solution over night. For the most hygienic option available, consider one-day contact options by Acuvue. Treating your eyes with the care and attention they require will decrease the likelihood of an infection, keep your eyes happy and healthy for years to come.