Every year, nearly one million people seek medical care for an eye infection. Some infections, like pink eye, are highly contagious, while others won’t spread, but they’re more dangerous for your eyes and vision. The optometrists at Valley Eye Professionals encourage you to get treatment at the first sign of an eye infection, so they can help relieve your symptoms and protect the health of your eyes. To schedule an appointment, call the office in the Studio City area of Los Angeles or book an appointment online.
Red eyes are caused by eye infections; they’re one of the primary symptoms. Other common symptoms of an eye infection include itchy eyes and eye pain, swelling, and discharge.
Eye infections develop when bacteria, viruses, or fungi invade your eye or the surrounding tissues.
Infections can occur inside your eye and on your cornea, which is the clear dome that covers and protect your eyes. However, the most common eye infection is conjunctivitis, or pink eye.
The conjunctiva is a clear membrane that covers the white part of your eye. When it’s infected, it becomes inflamed and blood vessels enlarge, creating its characteristic pink or red color.
There are two types of contagious conjunctivitis:
The most common type of pink eye, viral conjunctivitis arises from the same viruses that cause a cold or upper respiratory tract infection.
Typically caused by staph or strep, bacterial conjunctivitis produces a discharge and makes your eye sore.
You can also develop allergic conjunctivitis, which is an eye allergy to airborne substances such as pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. Unlike pink eye, allergic conjunctivitis isn’t contagious.
Blepharitis and cellulitis are two infections that affect your eyelids. Cellulitis may be limited to an eyelid infection, or it can begin in the eye socket and cause eyelid swelling.
Blepharitis arises from a bacterial infection that begins at the base of your eyelashes and leads to red, swollen eyelids. The infection could also be due to inflamed oil glands.
Two other eye infections — uveitis and keratitis — require immediate medical care because they can cause permanent vision loss.
Uveitis develops in the middle layer of your eye, called the uvea. This infection can develop suddenly, causing symptoms such as a red eye with or without pain, blurry vision, and floaters.
Keratitis is a bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infection of the cornea. You have a higher risk of developing keratitis if you wear contact lenses and don’t follow the appropriate care and cleaning instructions.
When you have keratitis, also called a corneal ulcer, your cornea is swollen or inflamed, your eye becomes red and painful, and your vision may be affected.
Call Valley Eye Professionals for treatment when you develop symptoms associated with any type of eye infection.