Eye Infections: Symptoms, Treatment

Burning, tearing and dryness in the eyes – these symptoms may indicate not only that the eyes are tired, but also possible infections.

Symptoms may indicate not only that the eyes are tired, but also possible infections. Sati Agagulyan, Head of the Department of High-Tech Methods for Researching the Children’s Eye Clinic “Clear Eye”, explains why these infections occur and how to treat them.

The infection can affect any part of the eye – from the conjunctiva to the cornea. As a rule, any type of infection is expressed in the form of inflammation of the outer mucous membrane of the eye – conjunctivitis. Therefore, the symptoms are almost always the same as when the disease itself: sensitivity to light, pain, burning, redness, the appearance of discharge and crusts at the beginning of the day.

Eye infections are divided into four types: microbial, viral, fungal and infections caused by protozoa (the rarest).

Microbial viruses

Most often, doctors are faced with patients whose eye diseases are caused by microbial viruses. Microbes that constantly live in the eye, with a decrease in immunity (due to SARS, influenza and other things) begin to multiply actively – and subsequently cause conjunctivitis. For microbial conjunctivitis, a dischargeable liquid is yellow or yellow-green, red eye syndrome, lacrimation, and slightly swollen eyelids. Staphylococcus, streptococcus and other bacteria are considered the most frequent causative agents of microbial conjunctivitis. If the eye is affected by Staphylococcus aureus, often the process becomes chronic, manifesting itself with redness and release of fluid from the eye several times a month. To combat such forms of conjunctivitis, long-term treatment is necessary and many drugs, from drops to ointments.

The most common type of viral conjunctivitis is adenovirus. 

In no case, when symptoms of microbial infections are detected, it is impossible to self-medicate. It is better to contact an ophthalmologist on the same or next day. First, only he can determine the type of disease and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Secondly, timely referral to a specialist will prevent the possibility of damage to the cornea with improper treatment.

Treat adenovirus with antiviral agents for two weeks, including ointments and drops. To this may be added antihistamines.

In order not to catch the adenovirus again, it is necessary to air the room more often, to do wet cleaning and to follow the rules of personal hygiene, especially during the period of exacerbation of colds.

Fungal infections

Fungal diseases are more common in patients who wear contact lenses. And for those who wear not daily, but quarterly or semi-annual. Pathogenic fungi that live on the eyelids, lacrimal ducts or conjunctival sac, can accumulate on the lens, multiply and cause fungal keratitis. In this case, the cornea itself is affected – the front of the eye. To the symptoms that determine conjunctivitis, fuzzy vision is added, the sensation of the presence of a foreign body in the eye, swollen eyelids.

It is important to identify the fungal disease in time and not to confuse it with others, for example with a bacterial ulcer. Diagnosing a fungal infection can take a week because the ophthalmologist must analyze the culture on the cornea.

To hesitate with the treatment is not necessary, so as not to cause a corneal ulcer and subsequently blindness. Solutions of suspension and even drops (as a last resort, if other drugs do not help) can be used only after the final diagnosis of the ophthalmologist.

“Simplest” infections
Infections caused by protozoa are most often found in contact lens holders. Patients can bathe in the sea, where the protozoa live, and literally stick them with random water on the lens, and then transfer them to the eye. The simplest multiply instantly and within a few hours can cause acanthamous keratitis. And this is one of the most severe eye lesions, occurring mainly in people aged 20 to 40 years. Patients with dry eye syndrome, diabetes mellitus and after eye surgery are in a special risk zone.

Severe pain in the eye area, reduced vision, photosensitivity – all these are signs of the development of keratitis. But this can only be understood precisely by a doctor, after an eye biomicroscopy. And only then it can be treated in the most usual way – with drops, but it will last for a long time, at least six weeks. At the same time, antiseptics and antibacterial drops can be used in parallel. In some advanced cases  in the event of a corneal ulcer -the patient may need surgery.

Unfortunately, often the diseases caused by protozoa are not immediately identified by the doctor and are treated with conventional antibiotics. Because of this, the process of destruction continues: the cornea begins to lack oxygen and vessels can begin to grow into it. If you start the treatment, you can literally go blind – the cornea will be damaged.

Chlamydial infections

This type of infection is worth a separate point. Chlamydial infections are divided into congenital and acquired. Most often, ophthalmologists face congenital conjunctivitis in children born to mothers with chlamydia. This manifests itself from the first day of the child’s life: there are pronounced flakes, separated from the eye. It is very important to understand the deviation in time and begin treatment. If white pus lingers, a corneal ulcer may form in the child. The cornea under this pus as if melts  it will be enough for only 3-4 days, if you do not immediately prescribe treatment. But usually in maternity hospitals such pathology is noticed immediately. Even in the risk zone are children born at home birth.

Acquired chlamydial infection is masked by the usual conjunctivitis: redness, pain, tearing. If the patient does not pay attention to this, he may get a chronic form of the disease. That is, 4-6 times a month

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