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What Causes Bacterial Infection in Your Eyes?

Your eyes are two of the most complex organs in your body and keeping them healthy is essential to living a strong and happy life. Like any other organ, your eyes can be invaded by a host of unwanted guests — bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses — which your body is equipped to protecting itself against. Most of the time, your body is quite successful, however there may be occasions when your immune system is compromised or just simply overwhelmed, and an eye infection can occur.

One of the most common eye infections are bacterial infections, which as the name suggests, are caused by an overabundance of bad bacteria in one or both of your eyes. A few examples of bacterial eye infections include:

1. Bacterial Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

More commonly referred to as pink eye, bacterial conjunctivitis is the most popular bacterial infection that affects the eyes. A bacterial conjunctivitis eye infection occurs when bacteria enters through the thin membrane that coats the whites of your eyes (the conjunctiva).

conjunctivaSymptoms

  • Pinkness in the white of the eye and/or inner eyelid
  • Increase in tear production
  • White or green discharge
  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over eyelashes, especially after sleeping
  • Itchy, burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

Treatment

If you experience any of the above conjunctivitis symptoms, it’s important to get your eyes checked by an eye doctor so they can diagnose your condition and prescribe antibiotics or another method of treatment. In the meantime, you should keep your hands away from your eyes and wash them often to ensure the infection doesn’t spread to an unaffected eye or another person.

Schedule an appointment with one of our trusted physicians online or by calling 865-579-3920.

2. Bacterial Corneal Infections (Keratitis)

Bacterial corneal infections (also called keratitis) affect your eye’s cornea, the clear spherical structure that covers your iris and pupil. While your corneas do an excellent job at protecting your eyes from infection, sometimes the cornea can tear or become injured in some other way, allowing bacteria find their way in, especially in the case of contact lens wearers. The two most common bacterial corneal infections are caused by staph bacteria and strep bacteria.

SymBacterial Corneal Infections (Keratitis)ptoms

  • Severe eye pain
  • Eyes that appear bloodshot
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Discharge
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • White patch on the cornea

Treatment

If you experience any of the above keratitis symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. Keratitis develops very suddenly and if left untreated, you could develop corneal ulcers and suffer permanent vision loss. When quickly diagnosed, most cases of keratitis can be treated with antibiotics, antifungal medications, and/or steroids.

Schedule an appointment with one of our trusted physicians online or by calling 865-579-3920.

3. Blepharitis (Eyelid Inflammation)

Otherwise known as the inflammation of the eyelids, blepharitis can be caused by a number of things, including meibomian gland dysfunction or bacterial infection.

Symptoms

  • Red eyes
  • blepharitisStinging, burning eyes
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Itchy eyelids
  • Crusty debris (dandruff) at the base of eyelashes
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • Gritty feeling or feeling like something is in the eye
  • Frequent blinking
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

Treatment

If you experience any of the above blepharitis symptoms that don’t seem to improve after avoiding eye makeup and an increase in eye hygiene, visit your eye doctor to narrow down the causes. Your eye doctor may prescribe a treatment that will reduce your eyelid inflammation and minimize your discomfort, which may include antibiotics, eyelid scrubs, or other treatments.

Schedule an appointment with one of our trusted physicians online or by calling 865-579-3920.

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