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Eye Problems | How To Spot An Eye Infection

Eye problems can affect anybody - not just those who wear contact lenses or glasses. If you have ever woken up with or experienced pain in your eyes, then you know how serious (and irritating) eye infections can be. So, understanding the symptoms, signs and how to care for your eyes is paramount in ensuring your eyes remain as healthy as possible.  The good news is eye infections aren’t hard to spot if you know what you’re looking for.

Symptoms of an eye infection

There are some tell-tale signs when your eyes are not happy, including:

  • Red eyes
  • Painful, swollen or itchy eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Discharge coming from the eye
  • Sensitivity to light

If you think you have an eye infection, don’t try and self-diagnose it. Book an appointment to see your optician or your doctor as soon as you can for an eye exam.

How do eye infections occur? 

Eye problems and infections generally occur when harmful bacteria and viruses come into contact with the surface of the eye or the outer or inner part of the eyelids.  There are lots of eye infections out there which fall into three specific categories based on their cause: viral, bacterial and fungal, with each being treated differently.

The most common eye infections include:

1. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, also known as a red or pink eye, is a very common eye infection and occurs when bacteria or a virus infects the blood vessels in the thin outermost membrane surrounding your eyeballs. As well as bloodshot eyes, conjunctivitis will also cause your eyes to become sticky (caused by eye discharge), itchy or they start to produce more tears than usual.

Conjunctivitis is incredibly contagious, so if you’re showing symptoms remember to regularly wash your hands to limit the spread of bacteria and avoid sharing pillows and towels.

You can ease your symptoms by soaking cotton pads with boiling water, waiting for them to cool down slightly, and gently cleanse any sticky build up in your eyes.

2. Keratitis 

Keratitis is an infection of the cornea, which is the clear layer that covers your pupil and your iris. When it becomes infected it can cause redness and swelling, pain and discomfort in your eye, blurry or loss of vision and sensitivity to light.  See your Optician as soon as possible if you suspect you have keratitis infection for treatment.

3. Sty

A sty is a pimple-like bump that develops when an oil gland on the edge of your eyelid gets clogged with dead skin cells, oils and other matters which allows bacteria to grow over the gland. If you’ve had a sty before, you’ll know they’re incredibly uncomfortable and painful, but it can also cause your eyelids to become crusty, itchiness and increase your tear production.

If you are unlucky enough to get a sty, immediately stop wearing your contact lenses and refrain from wearing eye makeup. Apply a clean, damp and warm cloth to your eyelid for 20 minutes several times a day and you can try over the counter painkillers to relieve the tenderness and swelling.

Prevention of eye problems or infections 

This is just a small number of common eye infections which can occur. To help prevent eye infections from developing in the first place, or reoccurring after being treated, there’s a few things you can try and do:

  • Regularly wash your hands, this is vitally important if you wear contact lenses.
  • Use clean towels and tissues on your eyes.
  • Use contact lens solution to disinfect your lenses every day, unless you wear daily disposable ones, in which case do just that and dispose of them every day.
  • Replace your pillows and bed sheets once a week.
  • Do not share eye makeup with anyone.
  • Visit your optician regularly for check-ups and if you start to feel symptoms of an eye infection, book in to see a specialist as soon as you can.

For more information on eye health, visit Superdrug Glasses Online.

Superdrug Glasses Online

Artice written for Superdrug Glasses Online by Emily Venables


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