Our eyes are a wonderful gift of nature. They’re a special window that allows us to clearly see our surroundings. So, we do everything possible to preserve our eyesight for as long as we can. Still, our eyes are constantly vulnerable to various forms of attack. You probably know about some of these threats such as foreign bodies, glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. But, there’s one specific threat that you may not think of, yet it can cause huge problems for your vision – eye infections.
It’s easy to think that infections occur everywhere else in our bodies except our eyes. However, bugs and viruses do not discriminate – they’re equal opportunity troublemakers. In fact, many of these viruses, bacteria, and parasites pose problems for both our eyes as well as other parts of the body.
Eye infections come in many different forms but they’re generally classified in two ways. First, they’re classified based on the specific part of the eye that’s affected. For example, inflammation of the eyelid is called blepharitis while inflammation of the optic nerve is known as neuroretinitis. Second, they’re classified based on the cause of inflammation or infection. For example, chorioretinitis is inflammation of an eye’s choroid and retina caused by a fungus while allergic conjunctivitis refers to an inflamed conjunctiva due to an allergen.
The symptoms of infections vary greatly depending on the type and scope. Some people don’t experience any real symptoms. This is especially true if the infection occurs on the retina, optic nerve, or blood vessels. For others, symptoms may include the following:
- Redness or itching
- Sensitivity to light
- Crusting or swelling eyelids
- Discharge from eye (watery-like in cases of viral conjunctivitis, thick pus in cases of bacterial conjunctivitis)
- Excessive tearing or blinking
It’s important to remember that almost all eye infections accompany diseases in other parts of the body. So, it’s good to pay close attention if you experience other ailments like the common cold.
How do we allow viruses and bacteria to get into our eyes in the first place? Three common culprits include rubbing our eyes with unclean hands, improper wearing of contact lenses, and sharing eye makeup or cosmetics.
Once you’ve gotten an official diagnosis of infected eyes, your doctor can offer one of several treatments for your condition. Compresses, eye drops, and antibiotics are some of the more commonly used methods for eliminating infections. There are also many ways for preventing infections including: constant hand washing, proper contact lens wearing, and keeping away from others if you have contagious viral or bacterial conjunctivitis. Visit your eye care professionals at Northside Eye Care for any questions you have or any help you may need.
There are many considerations when it comes to protecting your vision. Keeping your eyes infection-free is one of them. It’s easy to appreciate the importance of this one basic task once you understand the possible damage that can arise with eye infections. So, do your part to make your eyes a “bug-free” zone. It’s a great way to keep the windows to your soul clean and healthy for years to come.