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Can an Eye Infection Lead to Worse Issues?

Have you ever had pink eye or another kind of eye infection? Every year, many people visit their eye doctor because of an eye infection. 

Eye infections can cause symptoms like redness, light sensitivity, pain, and more. Unfortunately, they do not always go away on their own. 

There are many types of eye infections. Some are bacterial or viral, while others are fungal or even parasitic. 

In some cases, if left untreated, they can lead to serious issues. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of eye infections and the importance of prompt treatment!

Bacterial Infections

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is one of the most common kinds of eye infection. It occurs when the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane located at the front of your eye and on the inner surfaces, becomes irritated. 

In addition to your eye appearing pink or red, symptoms of pink eye include wateriness, mucus, and an itchy or burning sensation. Conjunctivitis can be either bacterial or viral and is very contagious. 

Improperly cleaned contact lenses, sharing makeup, and touching your eyes without washing your hands can result in a bacterial infection. Sometimes it occurs along with an ear infection as well. 

Bacterial conjunctivitis typically responds well to antibiotics. If left untreated, however, it has the potential to spread to other parts of the eye.

This can lead to more severe infections, such as keratitis and endophthalmitis. Keratitis occurs when your cornea becomes inflamed. 

Without treatment, it can permanently damage your vision, and even result in total blindness. Endophthalmitis is another type of infection that affects the tissues and fluids in the eyeball. 

This too, can cause significant damage to your vision without medical intervention.

Viral Infections

Some eye infections are caused by a virus. Conjunctivitis can be viral as well. 

Adenovirus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and varicella-zoster virus can all irritate your eye’s mucous membrane. In this case, you may also have cold or flu symptoms. 

Viruses can also spread through direct contact. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not effective against viruses. While some viral infections clear up on their own within a couple of weeks, this is not a certainty. 

An evaluation from your eye doctor is still necessary in order to identify the cause of the infection. Antivirals may be prescribed in cases caused by HSV, which support your immune system’s response.

Like bacterial infections, some viral infections can also lead to serious complications. If not properly treated, HSV infections can progress to keratitis, which can scar the cornea and cause irreversible vision loss.

Fungal and Parasitic Infections 

Fungal and parasitic infections of the eye can also lead to serious complications, including blindness in severe cases. A fungal infection is a rare but serious kind of infection. 

In most cases, it develops as a result of trauma to the eye. Funguses that are found outside, as well as yeast found on human skin and in the body, can result in infection.

Fungal infections can be treated with antifungal medication. A parasitic infection of the eye is also rare. In this case, an organism infects the eye.

Examples of this type of infection include toxoplasmosis and onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. Parasitic infections can be treated with eye drops and oral medication. 

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. If you notice any symptoms of an eye infection, it’s best to call your eye doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’re putting your vision at risk. 

Do you think you may have an eye infection? Schedule an appointment at Ginsberg Eye in Naples, FL, today!