Some of the harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi which can attack human body can also invade the surface or the interior of the eye. There are many different types of infections, depending on the part of the eye which is affected and the very cause of the infection. One thing they have in common is the need to consult a doctor when you notice some of the symptoms (red eyes, itching, discomfort, watery eyes, blurred vision, eye pain, eye discharge, swollen eyelids and the surface around the eye). Some of them will require minimal or no treatment, while others, such as trachoma, if left completely untreated can even lead to blindness. Because it is better to be safe than sorry, you should know common causes of infection and learn how to avoid getting it in the first place.
Common Causes of Eye Infection
Majority of eye infections is caused because of the bacteria that are usually present on the skin surface come in touch with the eyes where there is some injury or irritation in the area. Still, viruses and bacteria which are not normally present on the skin surface. The infection can also spread through direct contact with the person who is already affected by the condition. The disease can be transmitted by touching contaminated objects and then rubbing the eyes without washing the hands previously. Infection can also be caused by a foreign body which enters the eye and scratches the cornea. If an eye comes in contact with some harmful chemical that can lead to infection – this includes synthetic eye makeup that can irritate your eyes. An injury or trauma to the eye and surgery can make the eye more sensitive to microorganisms’ attacks. People wearing contact lenses are more prone to an eye infection.
Causes of Serious Eye Infections
Some, not so common, causes can lead to a serious eye infection. Ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (fungal infection of the lungs) can damage the retina and harm, and even destroy the central part of the field of vision. Some of the common sexually transmitted infections (gonorrhea and Chlamydia) can lead to conjunctivitis. Herpes viruses can affect the eye similarly.
How to Prevent Eye Infections
Though there are some causes of eye infections you cannot avoid, there are others that are within your power. By taking (or not taking) some small actions and making some changes you can have a major influence on your eyes’ health. Here are the things you can do:
- Wash your hands: This might seem obvious, but it is important to mention that before every contact between your hands and eyes. When outside use anti-infective sprays and cleansers.
- Do not touch your eyes: Try to touch your eyes as less as you can.
- Avoid chemicals: Avoid contact with chemicals and use organic eye makeup.
- Avoid close contact with the person infected: If a close person has an eye infection avoid sharing some private items such as pillow, bedding, etc.
- Eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep: Because poor diet and insufficient sleep can weaken the immune system, this makes you more vulnerable and exposed to potential eye infection.
- Avoid dirt and dust: If you are, for some reason, exposed to dust and dirt try to wear sunglasses or some other kind of protection.
- Care for your contact lenses: If you are wearing contact lenses you should follow the safety and hygiene tips, such as hand-washing before you handle them, removing them before sleeping and throwing them away according to manual.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure: Too much sun exposure can weaken the protective layer of your eye.
Do your best to prevent eye infection from ever occurring. Still, if you, besides your best effort, notice some alarming signs, make sure you visit a doctor.