What is eye infection?

Eye infections may cause the whites to turn pink, eyelids to swell, or a clear or greenish discharge from the tear ducts.
Eye infections may cause the whites to turn pink, eyelids to swell, or a clear or greenish discharge from the tear ducts.

Eye infection is a condition in which a virus, bacteria or any other microbial agents may infect the eye. This can cause itching around the eyes, or the eyes may turn pink. The infection can affect the following parts of the eye:

  • Eyelid
  • Cornea (a clear surface that covers outside of the iris)
  • Conjunctiva (a thin, moist area that covers the inside of the eyelids and outer part of the eye)

What are some common eye infections?

Some common eye infections include:

  • Conjunctivitis: Commonly known as “pinkeye,” it’s the infection of the conjunctiva. Beside bacteria or viruses, pinkeye may also be caused by an allergic reaction or irritants. It can give a pink shade to the eye as the blood vessels beneath the white of the eye (sclera) dilate in response to inflammation.
  • Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea caused by bacteria, viruses, or waterborne parasites. It is common in people using contact lenses.
  • Stye occurs as a painful, red bump under the eyelid or at the base of the eyelashes. Bacteria infect the oil glands in the eyelid or eyelashes to produce a stye. Styes, sometimes spelled “sty,” are largely harmless and not contagious.
  • Fungal eye infections: Infections that occur due to fungal organisms are rare but serious. Fungal infections usually occur after an eye injury, or from using unclean contact lenses.
  • Uveitis: It is the inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea. Viruses like herpes or autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus can cause uveitis.
  • Blepharitis: It is the inflammation of the base of the eyelashes caused by the bacteria.

What are the symptoms of eye infections?

The symptoms may be present in one or both the eyes. The patient may experience the following symptoms in and around the eye:

What does an eye infection look like?

An eye infection may bring about the following changes in the eye:

  • A pink tint in the whites of the eye
  • Swollen red or purple eyelids
  • Crusty lashes or lids
  • Discharge of fluids which may be yellow, green or clear

What are the complications of eye infections?

The complications of an eye infection include:

  • Orbital cellulitis is the infection of the tissues surrounding the eyeball. This may be a consequence of rubbing or popping a stye.
  • Dacryocystitis: Inflammation and blockage of the eye’s tear drainage system.
  • Corneal ulcer: Blister on the eye.

If left untreated, these conditions can result in:

  • Damage to retina (visual nerve tissue in the eye)
  • Formation of scars
  • Vision loss
  • Blindness
  • Meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain)

SLIDESHOW

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference



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