Eye infections are caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. These harmful micro organisms can affect any section of the eye leading to these conditions. Some of the common infections of the eye are conjunctivitis, viral keratitis, fungal keratitis, Acanthamoeba keratitis, Endophthalmitis and Trachoma. Apart from causing irritation, these infections have the ability to cause further complications if not treated on time. Awareness about the symptoms of these infections goes a long way in preventing them.
Types of Eye Infections and their Symptoms:
Conjunctivitis: It is the swelling of the eyelid membrane lining caused by viruses. It is more common in young children and teachers who remain in a close proximity to them in classrooms. Some symptoms are pain, increasing tearing, itching, redness, sensitivity, blurred vision, crusts, gritty feeling in the eyes and sensitivity to light.
Viral Keratitis: It is the swelling of the eye's cornea caused by herpes simplex and herpes zoster viruses. The symptoms are mild to severe pain, red watery eyes and sensitivity to light.
Fungal keratitis: The organism Fusarium fungi found in organic matter causes this eye infection. It is an ulcer in the outer layer of the cornea. Its signs are itching and discharge, white patchy cornea, red bloodshot eyes, hazy vision, sensitivity to light and very painful watery eyes.
Acanthamoeba keratitis: It is an invasion of the cornea by the amoebae. Though the condition is rare and mostly reported by contact lens users, it is dangerous enough to cause loss of sight. The symptoms of this infection are same as the signs of above mentioned eye conditions.
Endophthalmitis: It is an infection involving swelling of the eyeball. Various bacteria and fungi are responsible for this very serious eye condition after a cataract surgery. It can cause loss of vision. Its signs are swollen eyelids, decrease in the vision of the affected eye, worsening of pain after surgery, blurred vision, mild eye pain, sensitivity to light and appearance of semi transparent floaters.
Trachoma: Chlamydia trachomatis is the bacteria responsible for this eye infection. The signs appear after 5 -12 days of exposure to the bacteria. They are discharge from the eyes, swollen and turned-in eyelids, swelling of the lymph nodes and cloudy cornea.
In all the above mentioned types of eye infections, diagnosis is done by eye tests and which confirm the stage of the condition. It plays an important in determining the treatment options and procedures.
The treatment may range from prescription of eye drops and antibiotics to surgery of the eye or complete removal of the content of the affected eye to save the other eye.
However, simple steps can be taken to prevent the occurrence of these conditions. Maintaining good hygiene should be given a top most priority in homes with small kids. Washing of hands with disinfectants and using clean towels can reduce the harmful effects of the pathogens and keep them away.
Conclusion: Extra care should be taken for small children, aged people and patients suffering from immune-compromised diseases like diabetes. These people are more prone to the complications of the various eye infections.