About Eye Infections
The majority of eye infections are viral, fungal, or bacterial and are contracted from other people who have the infection. Generally, eye infections are passed from person to person when someone touches their eyes without washing their hands. If you have discomfort, inflammation, irritation, or itchiness in your eye(s), it's likely you have one of several common eye infections. At times, eye infections may also cause temporary vision loss.
Eye infections can range from mild to severe and from harmless to serious. Some are treatable with OTC solutions, and some will resolve on their own; however, some eye infections are dangerous and should be treated by a medical professional.
If you suspect that you or your child has an eye infection, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons at our convenient locations in Greenbelt and Bowie, MD. We have advanced techniques for diagnosing all types of eye infections and will ensure that you receive the proper treatment and care.
Common Eye Infections
At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we frequently see and treat these common eye infections:
Infection from a Foreign Body
Foreign bodies in the eye can sometimes be flushed out with water, but they often require medical treatment, especially when they have caused an injury that has led to infection. Examples of foreign bodies we often see in our patients' eyes include makeup, glass, and sand.
Styes are painful red bumps that develop at the base of eyelashes either outside or inside the eyelid. They are very common and will develop if bacteria makes its way into an eyelash follicle or oil duct. Usually, you can take care of a stye at home, but if you are experiencing chronic styes, it's important to have an eye exam.
Blepharitis is dry, flaky, itchy, and red eyelid skin caused by staphylococcal blepharitis (a bacteria). Generally, blepharitis is not contagious. We see it most often in adults who have ocular rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, or psoriasis.
Conjunctivitis, often referred to as "pink eye," is very common and very contagious. It is usually viral or bacterial and causes itchy, red, and sometimes oozing/crusting eyes. Pink eye is most common in children due to infrequent handwashing and touching their eyes after they've been exposed.
Corneal ulcers are open sores on the surface of the cornea. Often referred to as abscesses, they are usually caused by direct trauma to the cornea or by an eye infection. If left untreated, they could lead to vision loss, but they typically respond well to appropriate treatment.
Inflammation of the uvea (middle, pigmented layer of the eye) is called uveitis. Uveitis can be triggered by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, trauma, and often, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Uveitis can cause pain, redness, blurred vision, and extreme light sensitivity. If not diagnosed and treated early, it can cause tissue damage and vision loss.
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If you have an eye infection, your symptoms may be mild or severe. Symptoms of eye infections typically include inflammation, burning, watering, and itching, and your eyes might ooze and crust. Some infections also cause lumps, bumps, or cysts. The good news is that most eye infections can be treated very effectively and won't cause any long-term problems. Some are quite serious, however, so it's very important that you see an eye doctor as soon as possible if you have an eye infection.
The majority of common eye infections are caused when individuals come into contact with a virus, fungus, or bacteria and then touch their eyes before washing their hands. Other very common ways people contract eye infections are by not washing their hands before inserting contact lenses and sharing makeup. The most effective way to prevent infections caused by foreign bodies is to use protective eyewear in environments that could be harmful to your eyes.
Before we can treat your eye infection, you will need to have a comprehensive eye exam. During this exam, one of our experts will be able to properly diagnose your infection and determine what caused it. Once we have that information, we will know the most appropriate and effective treatment method. Usually, eye infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics, prescription eye drops (including corticosteroids), laser treatment, or minimally invasive surgery (typically reserved for foreign bodies embedded in the eye).
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Relief At Last
Although eye infections are usually minor, they can sometimes be quite serious, and it is not always easy to tell at home which kind you have. If you do have an eye infection, or if you have something stuck in your eye that is causing irritation or redness, you should see a professional right away. At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we are equipped with the technology and experts necessary to provide long-term relief.