Eye infections – causes, symptoms and different types

Eye twitching, eye infections

When bacteria, viruses and fungi (which are harmful microorganisms) invade any part of the eyeball or the surrounding area then these eye infections will happen. This includes the thin moist membrane lining the outer eye and the conjunctiva (the inner eyelids) and the clear front surface of the eye (which is known as cornea).

Here are the most common symptoms of eye infections:

Symptoms of eye infections:

  • Blurry vision
  • Itching
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Swollen eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Eye discharge
  • Pain
  • Red eyes

If you suspect that you have eye infection, then you should visit your doctor and make an eye exam. If you have noticed some of the mentioned symptoms, then you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. If you wear contact lenses, then you should wear eyeglasses until you talk with your doctor. There are many different types of eye infections and your doctor should discover what kind of eye infection you have because in this way you will get proper treatment. If you have some kinds of infections, then your doctor will take a sample from the affected areas of your eyes because this will help him to discover the type of eye infection you have. This will help your doctor to give you proper antibiotics for the treatment of this condition.

Eye infectionsCauses and types of eye infections

The examples of viral, fungal and bacterial eye infections include:

  • Pink eye or conjunctives: This is a very common condition which is also contagious. It is often spread in children in classrooms, day care centers or other similar environments. Day care workers and teachers also have increased chances to get this condition because they work with children in close quarters. These infections have bacterial or viral originis. [1]
  • Other viral eye infections (viral keratitis): If you are exposed to the Herpes simplex virus, then you can get other viral eye infections which include herpes. [2]
  • Fungal keratitis: This is a type of eye infection. The fungal eye infection is associated with the Fusarium fungi which are found in the organic matter. This kind of fungal infection and other types of it can invade our eyes in many different ways such as when we have an injury that is caused by a tree branch. This kind of eye infection was in the news in 2006 when a contact lens solution that was withdrawn from the markets was linked to an outbreak for people who wear contact lenses. [3,4]
  • Acanthamoeba keratitis: People who wear contact lenses are having increased risk of encountering parasites which can invade their eyes and that can lead to serious sight – threatening infection which is known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. This is a reason why people who wear contact lenses should always ask for safety tips from their doctors. For example, they should avoid swimming while they are wearing contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses when you are relaxing in a hot tub or when you are swimming, then you should disinfect your contact lenses as soon as possible. This is a reason why you should wear contact lenses if your doctor has said and not to use them just for fashion because you have increased risk of getting eye infections. [5]
  • Trachoma: Trachoma is eye infection that is related to Chlamydia trachomatis. It is uncommon condition in the United States but it is spread in the parts of the world that are under developed regions and this is a reason why in these parts of the world the number of people who are blind is the biggest. Flies can spread this kind of infection in unsanitary environments and this becomes one of the most common infections. [6] This infection usually infects the inner eyelid that begins to scar. The scarring which is cause for an in – turning of our eyelids and eyelashes begin to brush against and it destroys the tissue on our cornea which results in permanent blindness. The availability of treatments such as oral antibiotics and good hygiene are the best ways to control this type of eye infection.
  • Endophthalmitis: When the bacterial endophthalmitis penetrates the eye’s interior, then this can result in blindness if you do not get immediate treatment. In many cases for this condition are used antibiotics. [7,8]


[1] Starke KR, Kofahl M, Freiberg A, et al. Are daycare workers at a higher risk of parvovirus B19 infection? A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019;16(8):1392.

[2] Lobo AM, Agelidis AM, Shukla D. Pathogenesis of herpes simplex keratitis: the host cell response and ocular surface sequelae to infection and inflammation. The Ocular Surface. 2019;17(1):40–9.

[3] Ma SE, So K, Chung P, et al. A multi-country outbreak of fungal keratitis associated with a brand of contact lens solution: the Hong Kong experience. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2009;13(4):443-8.

[4] Cruz D. Contact lens solution permanently removed from markets worldwide. Healio. 2009. Retrieved from www.healio.com/news/ophthalmology/20120331

[5] Carnt N, Stapleton F. Strategies for the prevention of contact lens‐related Acanthamoeba keratitis: a review. Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics. 2016;36(2):77-92.

[6] Reilly LA, Favacho J, Garcez LM, Courtenay O. Preliminary evidence that synanthropic flies contribute to the transmission of trachoma- causing Chlamydia trachomatis in Latin America. Cadernos de Saúde Pública. 2007;23(7).

[7] Novosad BD, Callegan MC. Severe bacterial endophthalmitis: towards improving clinical outcomes. Expert Review of Ophthalmology. 2010;5(5):689-98.

[8] Lu X, Ng DSC, Zheng K, et al. Risk factors for endophthalmitis requiring evisceration or enucleation. Scientific Reports. 2016.


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