What Are Common Eye Infections?

An eye infection is a condition in which viruses, bacteria or other microbial agents may attack the eye.
Sydelle Enoch 

Eye infections are not hard to spot. In fact, you will easily notice pain, swelling, redness, or itching in your eye so that you can seek medical treatment quickly. But what causes these eye infections? Well, an eye infection typically falls into three categories (viral, fungal, and bacterial) and each category requires different treatment methods.

An untreated eye infection can lead to temporary and permanent damage. It is, therefore, vital that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanently damaging your eye and the surrounding area.

Here’s a list of the most common eye infections and how you can treat them:

Conjunctivitis (AKA pink eye)

The most common eye infection is conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye (aptly named because of the pink coloring in the whites of the eye). Conjunctivitis occurs when blood vessels become infected by a virus or bacteria, but it can also be the result of allergies.

Treatment depends on which type of conjunctivitis you have contracted, so be sure to take note of any of the following symptoms:

  • A reddish/pinkish tint to your eyes
  • Itchiness and feeling like there is something stuck in your eye
  • Watery discharge
  • Producing more tears than usual

If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, then the doctor is likely to prescribe you antibiotic eye drops or ointment to help kill the infection. Symptoms will start to fade after a couple of days. However, if you have a viral infection, no treatment exists, and you will have to wait for the infection to die down on its own.


Keratitis occurs when your cornea (the clear layer that covers your pupil and iris) becomes infected or has experienced trauma from an eye injury. An infection can be a result of bacteria, fungus, virus, or a parasite. You are more likely to experience keratitis if you:

  • Wear contact lenses
  • Use eye drops to treat an eye condition
  • Have damaged your eye
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Live somewhere humid and hot

Common symptoms are:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Feeling as if there is something stuck in your eye
  • Loss of vision and/or blurry vision

Visit Your Doctor

You need to see your doctor as soon as possible as keratitis can lead to permanent eye damage and, in some cases, eye loss. You may also run the risk of developing cataracts. If you develop and are diagnosed with cataracts, there are many treatment options for you to consider such as cataract surgery.

Doctors tend to treat keratitis through eyedrops. The types of eye drop you are prescribed depending on whether you have a bacterial or fungal infection. There is no way to eliminate viral keratitis, and although oral medications and eye drops can be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms, viral keratitis may later return.

Eye infections can disappear on their own and without treatment. However, there is a greater risk of developing permanent damage such as impaired vision and increased pain. The earlier the infection is treated, the less likely you are to experience any long-lasting issues.

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