Three Common Types of Cornea Eye Infections

by Jun 21, 2021

An eye infection is never a pleasant experience. It can be one of the most painful events that an individual may endure and is potentially sight threatening.

There are a variety of different infections that can occur in the eye, from just one component of the eye to the entire eyeball. This article will discuss common bacterial, fungal, and protozoan infections that occur in the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye.


A Bacterial Keratitis Eye Infection

Keratitis means an inflammation of the cornea, which can result from infection. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Streptococcus, are the most common cause of corneal infections.

Signs and symptoms for a bacterial corneal infection are often a red eye with moderate to severe pain and light sensitivity. Yellow discharge will be apparent and the individual may experience blurry vision.

Bacterial keratitis is often associated with contact lens overwear or lack of adequate hygiene. It can also be associated with trauma, eye surgery, or a foreign body in the cornea.

Systemic conditions and use of ocular steroids may increase the risk of this condition.

Treatment for this condition can vary from moderate to extreme protocol. This can depend on the location, size, and other risk factors associated with the infection, such as being a contact lens wearer.

It is important to halt all contact lens wear until our optometrist recommends restarting. The medication necessary will always include an antibiotic, varying between an eye drop, oral medication, or ointment.

The dosing can be anywhere between every 15 minutes to a couple times a day, depending on the severity. In extreme cases, admission to the hospital may be necessary.

In some cases, a steroid may also be added to control the inflammation and scarring associated with the infection. Pain medication can be taken as instructed.


A Fungal Keratitis Eye Infection

Fungal keratitis is also painful and is associated with a red eye. Light sensitivity, tearing and discharge will also occur.

Although less common, this form of corneal infection is associated with trauma to the eyes and exposure to vegetation such as a tree branch. This can also be associated with poor compliance with contact lens wear and care.

As previously, in severe cases, admission to the hospital may be necessary. An antifungal medication will be prescribed and will need to be taken at least every one to two hours initially.

Pain medication may also be taken to increase comfort, including a cycloplegic eye drop. This eye drop helps with pain control but has the side effect of dilating the pupils, causing increased light sensitivity.


A Contact Lens Related Eye Infections

One of the most common corneal infections due to a protozoan would be from Acanthamoeba. This condition is heavily associated with poor contact lens hygiene and is incredibly painful.

Use of tap water with contact lenses is a common cause.

Treatment for this condition may also require admission to the hospital to prevent permanent damage. An ointment, oral or topical medication may be prescribed and instilled every hour.

Contact lens wear must be discontinued and pain medication can be taken orally or topically. Anti-inflammatory medication may be necessary.


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about or have an eye infection. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Joseph Goldberg, Karen Darrell and Patricia Jones provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.

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