Every year, like clockwork we opt for a complete health checkup at our doctor’s clinic and also get our teeth checked at the dentist. However, here is something that we often overlook: eye examinations. As we age, our eyesight weakens and we need eyeglasses or contacts to see. Visiting the eye doctor annually can keep your eyes healthy and risk-free. And just like we do for our overall health, maintaining proper hygiene is a must to keep eye infections at bay.
What Is An Eye Infection?
Eye infections are more common than you think. While some may have adverse effects on your eyes and vision, some disappear without hampering your sight. Eye infectionsoccur when viruses, bacteria, or other microbial agents attack the eye. Some cause itchy eyes, and redness, while others cause painful swelling, watery eyes, and more. Usually, the eyelid, cornea, and conjunctiva are affected. Eye infections can also cause vision loss, retinal damage, scarring, and meningitis if not treated in time.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Eye Infection?
Eye infection symptoms can be present in either one or both eyes. Watch out for the following.
1. How Your Eyes Feel:
There are two main types of eye pain depending on where you experience the discomfort: ocular pain occurs on the eye, and orbital pain occurs in the eye. Eye pain can be a symptom of many eye infections like conjunctivitis, styes, corneal abrasion, and more. Eye pain could also be a sign of severe diseases like glaucoma, and optic neuritis.
Eye discharge is a combination of mucus, oil, skin cells, and other debris that accumulates in the corner of your eyes while you sleep. This mucus can be wet, sticky, crusty, or dry. Minimal discharge from your eyes daily is considered normal, but an excess of it (especially in green or yellow color) accompanied by eye pain can indicate an eye infection.
Itchy eyes could be a symptom of eye allergies triggered by pollen or pet dander. The application of expired cosmetics and beauty products can also cause itching.
2. How Your Eyes Look:
Red eyes or bloodshot eyes occur due to the dilation of tiny blood vessels present between the white surface of your eye and the overlying clear conjunctiva. These blood vessels swell because of air pollution, dust and dirt, smoke, and over-exposure to UV rays.
Swollen or puffy eyes occur because of water retention or a severe infection. In case of water retention, it usually disappears within a few hours or on the application of a cool compress or an under-eye patch. However, in cases of an infection, the swelling is reduced by a warm compress. Swollen eyes are mainly caused due to bug bites, styes, cysts, and allergies.
This occurs when tears do not provide adequate moisture to your eyes, most commonly seen in post-menopausal women.
3. How Well You Can See:
Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, is a condition in which bright light hurts your eyes. To know more about light sensitivity, click here
Many people suffer from blurry vision as a result of an eye infection or injury. The problem often disappears on its own, but it is best to visit the eye doctor for fast recovery.
What Are The Causes Of An Eye Infection?
Eye infections occur due to illness-causing viruses and bacteria. There are many ways in which eye infections spread. Infections can be caused by the bacteria that live on your skin, allergies or an injury. You can also get an eye infection from an infected person if you touch your eye after shaking hands or touching common objects like a doorknob. Eye infections can also be caused by sharing cosmetics, towels, or pillows.
If you think you may have an eye infection, visit your eye doctor immediately.
Eye Infections: Frequently Asked Questions
How long do eye infections last?
Eye infections usually clear up in seven to fourteen days without treatment or any long-term consequences. However, in cases of conjunctivitis, it could take at least two to three weeks.
How do you know if you have an eye infection?
It depends on the inflammation. A few telltale signs include redness, swelling, eye pain, blurry vision, and itching.
How do the eyes look with an infection?
Look out for the following warning signs: redness or pink eye, swollen eyelids, and a clear, crusty or greenish discharge from the tear ducts.
What is normal eye discharge?
Not all eye discharge is a cause for concern. Minimal watery discharge from the eyes in a day is normal. However, a yellow or green discharge could mean otherwise. You will have to get it checked by a doctor and may require prescription medication or eye drops.