Eye Infections

Eye Infections

Do you have eye pain, redness or tearing? Are you experiencing increased sensitivity to light or having trouble seeing? If so, you might have an eye infection. These infections are very common—in fact, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 1 million eye infections require medical care each year in the United States. Below, we explore some common types of eye infections, explain when you should see a doctor and discuss what diagnosis and treatment may involve.

Types of Eye Infections

There are numerous types of eye infections, each one producing its own set of symptoms and requiring a unique course of treatment. Some of the most common types of eye infections include:

Conjunctivitis

Commonly referred to as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis causes the transparent membrane lining the eyeball and the eyelid (the conjunctiva) to become inflamed. Although conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by a viral infection, it can also result from a bacterial infection, an allergic reaction, a foreign object within the eye or a chemical that’s splashed into the eye. Additionally, infants may develop conjunctivitis if their tear ducts don’t open completely.

Conjunctivitis may cause the following symptoms in one or both eyes:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • A gritty sensation
  • Tearing
  • Discharge (this often forms a crust overnight)
  • Light sensitivity

Keratitis

Keratitis occurs when the clear tissue covering the iris and the pupil (the cornea) becomes inflamed. Although keratitis is often caused by an infection—bacterial, fungal, parasitic or viral—it can also result from an injury as minor as wearing contact lenses for too long. Keratitis can cause the following symptoms in the affected eye(s):

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • A feeling that something is in the eye
  • Tearing
  • Discharge
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty opening the eyelid

Endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis is a bacterial or fungal infection that affects the tissues or fluids within the eyeball. Bacteria or fungi may directly enter the eye through a wound, injection or surgical incision (exogenous endophthalmitis), or the infection could spread to the eye from another part of the body (endogenous endophthalmitis). The symptoms of endophthalmitis include:

  • Redness
  • Worsening eye pain
  • White or yellow pus or discharge
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Eyelid puffiness or swelling

If you think you might have endophthalmitis, it’s important to promptly seek care, since this type of eye infection is generally considered to be a medical emergency.

Cellulitis

There are two types of cellulitis that can affect the eyes: preseptal cellulitis (which develops in eyelid tissue) and orbital cellulitis (which develops in the eye socket). While cellulitis is often caused by bacteria, it can sometimes result from a fungal infection. Cellulitis symptoms commonly include:

  • Eye bulging
  • Difficulty moving the eye
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Eyelid redness and swelling
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Stye

A stye is a type of bacterial eye infection that forms in the eyelid’s oil glands, producing a painful red lump near the edge of the eyelid that often resembles a pimple or a boil. Although styes most commonly develop on the outside of the eyelid, they can sometimes appear inside. In addition to pain and redness, stye symptoms may also include tearing and eyelid swelling.

Uveitis

Uveitis causes the eye’s middle layer (the uvea) to become inflamed. This layer contains the choroid, the ciliary body and the iris. There are various potential causes of uveitis—including eye infections, eye injuries and autoimmune or inflammatory diseases—and in some cases, the condition has no known cause. Uveitis symptoms often develop suddenly, affecting one or both eyes, and may include:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Small dark spots that float across the field of vision (floaters)
  • Light sensitivity

When to See a Doctor for an Eye Infection

Generally speaking, it’s always a good idea to consult with a physician about a suspected eye infection. When left untreated, eye infections can sometimes lead to serious complications, including vision loss, and may even spread to other areas of the body. Plus, certain eye infections can be contagious (for example, conjunctivitis). After diagnosing you with a contagious infection, a doctor can advise you on what to do (and not do) to avoid spreading the condition to others.

Eye Infection Diagnosis & Treatment

When diagnosing an eye infection, a doctor will generally review the patient’s personal and family medical histories, ask them about their symptoms and perform an eye examination. In some instances, additional diagnostic testing will be necessary (for example, blood testing, fluid collection or imaging).

Eye infection treatment varies depending on the specific type of infection involved. For instance, conjunctivitis treatment is usually limited to administering eye drops and applying a warm or cool compress. But for a more severe eye infection, treatment may be more extensive. Keratitis that doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, for example, may require a cornea transplant, while severe cases of endophthalmitis could require surgery to remove vitreous gel from the eye. A physician can recommend the course of treatment that’s best suited to your specific needs.

Skilled Optometrists Serving the Tampa Bay Community

If you think you might have an eye infection, it’s important to promptly consult with an eye care professional. Fortunately, if you’re in the Tampa Bay area, you can turn to the experienced optometrists at Florida Medical Clinic. We have numerous offices throughout the region—including ones in Land O’ Lakes and North Tampa—and our optometrists work closely with the ophthalmologists and optical surgeons at our practice to ensure that all of our patients’ vision care needs are met. Click here to schedule an appointment with one of the knowledgeable optometrists on our team.

Proudly Serving: Land O’ Lakes, and North Tampa.

Land O’ Lakes - 2100 Via Bella Blvd Land O’ Lakes, Florida 34639

Land O’ Lakes

2100 Via Bella Blvd
Land O' Lakes, Florida 34639

Suite 105 - North Entrance


North Tampa - 13602 North 46th Street Tampa, Florida 33613

North Tampa

13602 N 46th St
Tampa, Florida 33613


North Tampa

13602 N 46th St
Tampa, Florida 33613

Eye Infections Care Team at this location:
Also at this location:
North Tampa - 14014 North 46th Street Tampa, Florida, 33613

North Tampa

14014 N 46th St
Tampa, Florida 33613

Suite A


North Tampa

14014 N 46th St
Tampa, Florida 33613

Suite A

Eye Infections Care Team at this location:
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