6 Common Eye Infections

If you’ve noticed some pain, swelling, itching, or redness in your eye, you likely have an eye infection. Eye infections fall into three specific categories based on their cause: viral, bacterial, or fungal, and each is treated differently.

Here are six common eye infections:

1. Conjunctivitis/pink eye

Infectious conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is one of the most common eye infections. It happens when blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the thin outermost membrane surrounding your eyeball, become infected by bacteria or a virus.

As a result, your eyes become pink or red and inflamed. It can also result from allergies or exposure to chemicals, like chlorine, in swimming pools. Take note of any of the following symptoms and see your doctor as soon as possible for treatment:

  • reddish or pinkish tint to your eyes
  • watery discharge from your eyes that’s thickest when you wake up
  • itchiness or feeling like there’s something constantly in your eyes
  • producing more tears than usual, especially in only one eye
2. Keratitis

Infectious Keratitis happens when your cornea gets infected. The cornea is the clear layer that covers your pupil and iris. Keratitis results from either an infection (bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic) or an eye injury. Keratitis means swelling of the cornea and isn’t always infectious.

Symptoms of keratitis can include:

  • redness and swelling in your eye
  • eye pain or discomfort
  • producing more tears than usual or an abnormal discharge
  • pain or discomfort when you open and close your eyelids
  • loss of some vision or blurry vision
  • light sensitivity
  • a sensation of having something stuck in your eye
3. Endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis is severe inflammation of the inside of your eye resulting from a bacterial or fungal infection. Candida fungal infections are the most common cause of endophthalmitis.

This condition can happen after certain eye surgeries, such as cataract surgery, although this is rare. It may also happen after your eye is penetrated by an object. Some symptoms to watch out for, especially after surgery or an eye injury, include:

  • mild to severe eye pain
  • partial or complete vision loss
  • blurry vision
  • redness or swelling around the eye and eyelids
  • eye pus or discharge
4. Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of your eyelids, the skin folds covering your eyes. This type of inflammation is usually caused by the clogging of the oil glands inside the eyelid skin at the base of your eyelashes. Blepharitis may be caused by bacteria.

Symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • eye or eyelid redness, itchiness, swelling
  • eyelid oiliness
  • the sensation of burning in your eyes
  • feeling like something’s stuck in your eyes
  • sensitivity to light
  • producing more tears than usual
  • crustiness on your eyelashes or corners of your eyes
5. Sty

A Sty (also called a hordeolum) is a pimple-like bump that develops from an oil gland on the outer edges of your eyelids. These glands can get clogged with dead skin, oils, and other matter and allow bacteria to overgrow in your gland. The resulting infection causes a sty.

Sty symptoms include:

  • pain or tenderness
  • itchiness or irritation
  • swelling
  • producing more tears than usual
  • crustiness around your eyelids
  • increased tear production

6. Uveitis

Uveitis happens when your uvea gets inflamed from the infection. The uvea is the central layer of your eyeball that transports blood to your retina — the part of your eye that transmits images to your brain.

Uveitis often results from immune system conditions, viral infections, or eye injuries. Uveitis doesn’t usually cause any long-term problems, but you can lose vision if a severe case isn’t treated.

Uveitis symptoms can include:

  • eye redness
  • pain
  • “floaters” in your visual field
  • sensitivity to light
  • blurry vision
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