It’s said that the eyes are the window to your soul, so understandably, when something goes wrong with them, you’ll want to fix it pretty quickly. Mild eye infections can be treated with over the counter medications, though if there is anything at all wrong with your peepers, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional, rather than self-diagnosing.
So, if you have woken up with a crusty eyelid, or your eye is itchy or sore, just read below, or pop into your local CarePlus Pharmacy to talk with one of our friendly pharmacists.
What is an eye infection?
An eye infection occurs when either bacteria, viruses or fungi affect any part of the eye. It can show up in many ways depending on your symptoms.
Symptoms can include
- Irritation, feeling like something in the eye
- Small bump on the eyelid or base of the eyelashes
- Watery or dry eyes
- Swelling around the eye
- Blurred vision
- Red eye
Common types of eye infections
The most common type of eye infection is called conjunctivitis. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane of the inner eyelid and inner corner of the eyelid). It is sometimes called “pinkeye” and is most common in children. Conjunctivitis can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.
Blepharitis is a common condition where the margins of the eyelids become red, swollen and inflamed. There are different types of blepharitis, and it can be caused by a bacterial infection or blocked glands at the rim of the eyelashes.
Styes appear as painful red bumps or spots on the base of the lid or underneath the lashes. They normally occur when an oil gland in the skin of the eyelid becomes blocked or infected.
Uveitis is an infection of the middle layer of your eye. It is caused by an inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Herpes simplex is a viral infection that normally starts by affecting the lips and can spread to the eye.
Treatments for eye infections
Most eye infections can be treated with antibiotic drops, ointments or tablets; the treatment depends on the type of infection present. If you wear contact lenses, try not to wear them until your infection is gone. A warm facecloth placed against the eye will help soothe the eye, help remove infected discharge from the eye, and can also help act as a poultice drawing out infection.
Prevention of eye infections
If you or a family member has an eye infection, you should use separate linens, facecloths, and towels. This will help prevent the infection being passed from person to person. Avoid using eye makeup, as this can cause or make an infection worse, and make sure that you wash makeup brushes regularly.
Do not re-use contact lenses without cleaning them thoroughly according to manufactures instructions. Always discard daily lenses after use.
Please speak to your local CarePlus pharmacist for the best advice on how to treat eye infections, and what medications are available over the counter for eye infections in Irish pharmacies.