What to do about an eye infection
Eye infections begin due to bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Unfortunately, this common problem is not limited to one part of your eye. Anytime you suspect an eye infection, you should always visit your eye care professional for an eye examination. Avoid trying to diagnose or treat the problem without seeking help, as this can delay effective treatment and potentially harm your sight.
Common types of Eye Infection
- Conjunctivitis, also known as “pink-eye”, is highly contagious, especially between children
- A stye is a bump on the eyelid when bacteria from your skin get into the hair follicle of an eyelash
- Acanthamoeba keratitis is a potentially blinding infection of the cornea. Contact lens wearers are at risk and need to adhere carefully to a strict lens hygiene routine. Using tap water instead of contact lens solution is an important possible risk factor.
- Endophthalmitis is a severe eye infection with inflammation. This occurs when an eye infection penetrates the eye’s interior, and blindness could result without immediate treatment. This type of infection can occur from trauma or injury penetrating the eye, or as a rare complication of eye surgery, such as cataract surgery
Symptoms of Eye Infection
- Redness, swelling and itching
- Discharge, or watery or dry eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Problems with vision
Eye Infection Treatments
Fortunately, most common bacterial eye infections clear up quickly with prompt treatment, such as with prescription antibiotic eye drops or ointments and compresses.
Many common viral eye infections resolve on their own. However, in severe cases, viral eye infections may require antiviral eye drops to be prescribed; careful administration of steroid eye drops may also be needed to reduce inflammation and more serious damage to the eye.
How to Prevent Eye Infections
- Always wash your hands before touching your eyes or eyelids and before handling contact lenses
- If you are near a person with a red eye, avoid contact around your own eye until you have first washed your hands
- Use hand sanitisers liberally in public areas such as day care centres and classrooms
- If you are a contact lens wearer, stop wearing your lenses, and try only to wear your glasses until you have seen your optometrist for diagnosis and treatment
- Remember that sleeping while wearing contact lenses, even if you wear new “breathable” lenses that have been approved for overnight wear, significantly increases your risk of eye infection
- At home, if any family members have a red eye or a confirmed eye infection, encourage regular hand washing among the entire household, keep their bedding and towels clean, and don’t let them share these items with anyone else
- Teach children to avoid touching their eyes without washing their hands first.
Looking after your eyes
An eye examination is a vital health check and should be part of everyone’s regular health care.
Book An Appointment
If you have any concerns about the health of your eyes, please call Whitby & Co on 020 7353 4455 to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, you can make an appointment onlin.