Types of Eye Infections
Their Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
There are numerous types of eye infections but what causes them, what symptoms should you be aware of and
how should they be treated. This page shares information of some of the most prominent inflictions and tries to address these questions.
List of Eye Infections and Topics
If you experience a distortion or blurring of images at all distances --
nearby as well as far -- you may have astigmatism. Even if your vision is fairly
sharp, headache, fatigue, squinting and eye discomfort or irritation may
indicate a slight degree of astigmatism. A thorough eye examination, including
tests of near vision, distant vision and vision clarity, can determine if
astigmatism is present. Astigmatism is not a disease nor does it mean that you
have "bad eyes." It simply means that you have a variation or disturbance in the
shape of your cornea. Astigmatism is one of a group of eye conditions known as
refractive errors. Refractive errors cause a disturbance in the way that light
rays are focused within the eye. Astigmatism often occurs with nearsightedness
and farsightedness, conditions also resulting from refractive
errors.Back To Top
Red, watery eyes,
inflamed inner lids, blurred vision and a sandy or scratchy feeling in the eyes
may indicate that you have conjunctivitis. Pus-like or watery discharge around
the eyelids may indicate an infectious form of the disease, commonly known as
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin,
transparent layer covering the surface of the inner eyelid and the front of the
eye. It affects people of all ages. The three main types of conjunctivitis are
infectious, allergic and chemical. The infectious form, commonly known as "pink
eye," is caused by a contagious virus or bacteria. Allergies to pollen,
cosmetics, animals or fabrics often bring on allergic conjunctivitis. And,
irritants like air pollution, noxious fumes and chlorine in swimming pools may
produce the chemical form. Certain forms of conjunctivitis can develop into a
serious condition that may harm your vision. Therefore, it is important to have
conjunctivitis diagnosed and treated quickly.
To prevent spreading conjunctivitis:
- Keep your hands away from your eyes;
- Thoughly wash hands before and after applying eye medications;
- Do not share towels, washcloths, cosmetics or eyedrops with others;
- Seek treatment promptly.
Small children, who may forget these
precautions, should be kept away from school, camp and the swimming pool until
the condition is cured.Back To
your eyes sting, itch or burn, you may be experiencing the common signs of "dry
eye." A feeling of something foreign within the eye or general discomfort may
also signal dry eye. Dry eye describes eyes that do not produce enough tears.
Dry eye may occur because the volume of tears produced is inadequate. We all
produce fewer tears as we get older, and in some cases this can lead to dry eye
symptoms. It may result because the composition of the tears has changed so that
they are unstable and evaporate more quickly. Dry eye symptoms can result from
the normal aging process. Exposure to environmental conditions, as well as
medications. Dry eye can also result from chemical or thermal burns to the eye.
If untreated, dry eye can harm your eyes. Excessive dry eye can damage tissue
and possibly scar the cornea of your eye, impairing vision. Dry eye can make
contact lens wear more difficult since tears may be inadequate to keep the
lenses wet and lubricated. This can lead to irritation and a greater chance of
eye infection. Therefore, it is important to follow your eye care practitioner's
recommended treatment plan.
To test for dry eye, your practitioner may use
diagnostic instruments that allow a highly magnified view of your eyes or small
strips of paper or thread and special dyes to assess the quantity and quality of
the tears. Dry eye cannot be cured, but your eyes' sensitivity can be lessened
and measures taken so your eyes remain healthy. The most frequent method of
treatment is the use of artificial tears or tear substitutes. In order to keep
dry eye symptoms in check, you and your eyecare practitioner need to work
together. Follow their instructions carefully.
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Poor vision that cannot be corrected fully with glasses may indicate a
condition known as conical cornea or keratoconus. A rare condition, keratoconus
primarily affects people in their early 20's. With keratoconus, the cornea, the
"clear window" at the front of the eye, may become thin and bow outwards. It is
this irregular distortion of the cornea that makes vision correction with
glasses less than optimal. Mild to moderate keratoconus is best corrected with
contact lenses, which provide a smooth surface in front of the cornea, making
clear vision possible. Back To
Your eye care practitioner may refer to farsightedness
as longsightedness, or by its medical names, hypermetropia or hyperopia.
Hypermetropia causes the eyes to exert extra effort to see close up. After
viewing nearby objects for an extended period, you may experience blurred
vision, headaches and eyestrain. Hypermetropia most commonly occurs because the
eyeball is too short; that is, shorter from front to back than is normal. In
some cases, hypermetropia may be caused by the cornea having too little
curvature. Exactly why eyeball shape varies is not known, but the tendency for
farsightedness is inherited.
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Our ability to "see" starts when light enters the eye through the cornea.
The shape of the cornea, lens, and eyeball help bend (refract) light rays in
such a manner that light is focused into a point precisely on the retina.
The crystalline lens plays a key role in focusing light on the retina. With
the help of tiny ciliary muscles, it changes shape, or accommodates, for both
near and distant objects by bending or flattening out to help focus light rays.
However, as one ages, not only does focusing on near objects become more
difficult, the eye also is unable to adjust as quickly to rapid changes in focus
on near and distant objects.
The age at which presbyopia is first
noticed varies, but it usually begins to interfere with near vision in the early
40's. An accurate, thorough description of symptoms and a comprehensive eye
health examination, including a testing of the quality of your near vision, are
necessary to diagnose presbyopia.
Usually, the treatment for presbyopia is prescription eyeglasses to help the
eye accommodate for close-up work. Prescription lenses (reading glasses) help
refract light rays more effectively to compensate for the loss of near
If you do not have other vision problems, such as nearsightedness or
astigmatism, you may only need glasses for reading or other tasks done at a
close range. If you have other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness,
bifocal or progressive addition lenses (in which the power of the lens changes
gradually towards the bottom to allow reading, without the reading portion of
the bifocal lens obviously visible) are often prescribed.Back To Top
If you can see objects nearby with no problem, but reading road
signs or making out the writing on the board at school is more difficult, you
may be nearsighted or shortsighted.
Your eye care professional may refer
to the condition as myopia, a term that comes from a Greek word meaning "closed
eyes." Use of the word "myopia" for this condition may have grown out of one of
the main indications of nearsightedness: Squinting to see distant objects
Myopia is not a disease, nor does it mean that you have "bad
eyes." It simply refers to a variation in the shape of your eyeball. The degree
of variation determines whether or not you will need corrective
Myopia most often occurs because the eyeball is too long, rather
than the normal, more rounded shape. Another less frequent cause of myopia is
that the cornea, the eye's clear outer window, is too curved. There is some
evidence that nearsightedness may also be caused by too much close vision work.
The newest theory is that myopia is more commonplace in children that have had a
night light on when sleeping. This appeared to only caused myopia when the light
was used on children under the age of two, after this age the nightlight appears
to have no effect on the development of myopia.Back To Top
small area of redness and pain on the margin of your eyelid may indicate that
you have a stye, known in medical terms as external hordeolum. A stye is a
blocked gland at the edge of the lid which has become infected by bacteria,
usually Staphylococcus aureus
The area of redness and pain will eventually form a 'point'. Until this
occurs, warm compresses should be applied to the area for 15 minutes
three-to-four times a day. The compresses should be followed by the application
of sulphonimide or antibiotic ointment to the stye, available by prescription.
Check with your eye care practitioner.
Once the stye has 'pointed', it can usually be expressed (squeezed gently to
empty its contents), after which the lids should be cleaned. Treatment with the
ointment should be continued until symptoms have cleared. Sometimes it is
necessary for the stye to be lanced by an eye care practitioner to assist with
expression.Back To Top
Author: Contact Lens King