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How To Tell If You Have An Eye Infection

How To Tell If You Have An Eye InfectionAccording to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 1 million people each year are diagnosed with an eye infection. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Another common source of eye infections is failing to care for and use contact lenses properly.

Eye infections can be quite irritating or painful, and, if left untreated, some eye infections can also cause permanent vision loss or damage to the eye. Some of the most common types of eye infections include:

Viral Conjunctivitis, or pink eye: infection similar to bacterial conjunctivitis, but caused by a virus. Symptoms may include:

  • Pinkness or redness of the eye
  • Burning or a sensation of grittiness
  • Watery discharge
  • Swollen and/or red eyelids

Bacterial Conjunctivitis: infection of the clear membrane surrounding and protecting the eye. Symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Swelling of the eyelid
  • Yellowish discharge

Herpes Simplex Eye Disease: infection caused by a common virus most people are exposed to in childhood. Symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Rash with blisters on the eyelids
  • Sore on eyelid or eye surface
  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling that something is in the eye

Infectious Corneal Ulcers: infection of the cornea, caused by many types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Infectious corneal ulcers can lead to a quick loss of vision if left untreated. Symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Pain and soreness of the eye
  • Feeling that something is in the eye
  • Tearing
  • Pus or discharge
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swollen eyelids

Stye: infection of the hair follicle or glands at the edge of the eyelid. Symptoms may include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness of the eye
  • A bump with a small pus spot
  • Feeling that there’s something in the eye
  • Scratchiness or itchiness
  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light

Diagnosis & Treatment

You should always see an eye doctor anytime you suspect you may have an eye infection. Trying to self-diagnose your type of infection can potentially cause vision damage by delaying treatment.

In order to effectively treat your eye infection, your eye doctor needs to determine the particular type of infection. He or she may take a sample from the affected area of your eye for a culture to confirm the exact type of infection you have. This will help determine the most effective treatment, such as an antibiotic that targets the particular type of bacteria that’s causing the infection.

Don’t take a wait-and-see approach if you suspect you experience any of the symptoms listed for the various types of eye infections above. Contact our office and request a same-day appointment, and if you use corrective lenses, wear glasses instead of contact lenses until your eye doctor tells you it’s safe to wear contacts again.

Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN, dedicated to providing quality eye care to patients whose needs range from routine comprehensive eye examinations to complex eye surgeries. To meet our doctors and learn more about our specialities, visit our website or give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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