Eye Infection


The two most common types of eye infection – conjunctivitis and stye – can be prevented with common prevention techniques such as regular hand washing. Because each of these are caused by bacterial or viral infections, it is important to limit the spread by not touching the eyes and keeping hands clean. Eye infections can also be prevented by not sharing eye makeup, thoroughly cleaning contact lenses and having regular eye exams to look for warning signs.


Treatment options will vary based on the type of eye infection experienced. Common treatments include warm compress, drops, creams or antibiotics. In cases of serious infection, surgery may be required to restore sight and eye health. Bacterial pink eye, for instance, may require antibiotic eye drops to clear the infection. There is no effective treatment for viral pink eye, however, and this form must simply run its course. A warm compress can help relieve discomfort. A stye is often treated with antibiotic eye drops as well, or a topical cream or pill may be prescribed. In extreme cases, pus fills the stye and causes pressure on the eye. In this case, surgery may be performed to remove pus and relieve pressure.

Recent Debates and Developments

Eyes are quite prone to infection and are even more vulnerable after surgery. Doctors and researchers are conducting clinical trials to test the efficacy of povidone-iodine drops as a preventative technique before eye surgery to reduce the growth of bacteria and the occurrence of infection after surgery. In addition, researchers studying the serious parasitic eye infection onchocerciasis – also known as river blindness – are testing an experimental drug called ivermectin that has shown an ability to interrupt the progression of this disease. Further testing is needed to determine safety and efficacy.

More Information

Kids Health: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/eye/conjunctivitis.html

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/keratitis/DS01190

MedlinePlus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/eyeinfections.html

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