Ping Yahoo Eye Infections ~ HEALTH CARE

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eye Infections

What is an Eye Infection?
An eye infection is usually a condition caused by bacteria or a virus. While there are many different types of eye infections with different causes and treatments, the most common is bacterial conjunctivitis. Another well-known infection is blepharitis – chronic inflammation of the eyelid due to infection. One of the most well-known forms of blepharitis is staphylococcal. Styes are another common form of eye infection. A stye is an infection in the tiny oil glands along the edge of the eyelid that surround the base of an eyelash.
The eye is constantly exposed to a variety of pathogens, but infections occur when the normal defenses of the eye are compromised. The source of the infection may be local (e.g., from the eyelids) or remote (e.g., from the sinuses) and can be the result of trauma, eye surgery, contact lens wear, immune deficiencies, or other diseases resulting in bacteria growth or viruses.

What Are the Symptoms of Various Eye Infections?

Bacterial conjunctivitis results in red, itchy eyes that burn and discharge liquid. There may be more tearing than usual and your eyes may appear swollen.
Blepharitis is one of the most common disorders of the eye and is often the underlying reason for eye discomfort, redness and tearing. Other eye symptoms of blepharitis include: burning, itching, light sensitivity, and an irritating, sandy, gritty sensation that is worse upon awakening. In staphylococcal blepharitis, there is scaling and crusting along the eye lashes.
Styes usually begin as a red, tender bump, and usually come to a head in about three days. The stye then breaks open, drains and heals in about a week.

Who Does an Eye Infection Affect?

Eye infections can occur in any age group of patients, and since relatively benign infections can develop into serious disorders, most eye care practitioners treat infections aggressively. People who have undergone eye surgery or experienced trauma to the eye are at greater risk of infection. And because some eye infections are highly contagious, those who come in contact with someone who has the infection are at a much higher risk of becoming infected.

How to Avoid Eye Infections

Eye infections may be spread through contact with the eye drainage, which contains the virus or bacteria that caused the infection. Touching an infected eye leaves drainage on your hand. If you touch your other eye or an object when you have drainage on your hand, the virus or bacteria can be spread. Here are some ways to prevent the spread of eye infections:
  • Wash your hands before and after touching your eyes or face and before and after using medicine in your eyes.
  • Do not share eye makeup.
  • Do not use eye makeup until the infection is fully cured, because you could reinfect yourself with the eye makeup products. If your eye infection was caused by bacteria or a virus, throw away your old makeup and buy new products.
  • Do not share contact lens equipment, containers, or solutions.
  • Do not wear contact lenses until the infection is cured. Thoroughly clean your contacts before wearing them again and replace your contact lens case.
  • Do not share eye medicine.
  • Do not share towels, linens, pillows, or handkerchiefs. Use clean linens, towels, and washcloths daily.
  • Wash your hands and wear gloves if you are looking into someone else's eye for a foreign object or helping someone else apply an eye medicine.
  • Wear eye protection when in the wind, heat, or cold to prevent irritation.
  • Wear safety glasses when working with chemicals.
  • Avoid exposing your eyes to contaminated water.

How Are Eye Infections Treated?

Effective treatment of an eye infection first depends upon an accurate diagnosis by the physician. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, and treatment may require absence from work or school. Often a general practitioner can prescribe an anti-infective topical solution or ointment for treatment. It is important not to rub the eyes, because doing so contaminates hands and fingers. Hands should be washed thoroughly and often throughout the day. Warm compresses applied to the eye can soothe the symptoms.
The treatment for blepharitis is similar to the treatment for other eye infections. A warm compress on the infected eye is the most critical element of effective treatment. This therapy removes the eyelid debris, reduces the bacteria and stabilizes the tear film by releasing oily secretions from eye glands.
Following basic guidelines for stye infections can help reduce the seriousness and the duration of the stye. Home treatment such as not wearing eye makeup or contact lenses until the stye has healed, and applying warm, wet compresses to the eye several times daily should heal the stye in days. If home treatment does not work, prescription medications, such as eye ointments or eye drops, may be needed. Talk with a health professional if a stye becomes very painful, grows larger quickly, or continues to drain (particularly if the drainage is pus) or if the redness and swelling around a stye spreads over the eyelid, inside the eyelid, or over the eyeball.


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