About Pink Eye and Common Eye Infections
Dilated blood vessels on the eye surface produce the “pink eye” appearance of conjunctivitis. Eye infections may be caused by bacteria, viruses (including the coronavirus), or even fungi. However, not all eye redness is due to infection.
The cause of your eye redness can be difficult even for primary care, emergency room, or regular eye doctors to determine. Bacterial infections usually respond readily to antibiotic eye drops and viral conjunctivitis often eventually resolves even without treatment. Other causes of eye redness (such as blepharitis) may be harder to control, may keep coming back (recurrent corneal erosions), or may cause permanent damage if not treated properly (uveitis).
If you have red-eye or suspect an eye infection, schedule an appointment with one of our seasoned professionals at any one of our locations in Chicago Ridge, IL, Tinley Park, IL, and Munster, IN.
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Diagnosis and treatment of eye infections
A comprehensive eye exam is usually performed to determine an accurate diagnosis of an eye infection. Once this is complete, our team can review all your treatment options. The most common forms of treatment for an eye infection include antibiotics, antifungals, and antiviral medications. These may be prescribed in the form of eye drops, oral medication, or topical creams. In some cases, laser treatment or minimally invasive surgery may be needed.
Viral vs. Bacterial Eye Infections
Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis may produce eye redness, irritation, burning, and discharge. In viral cases, however, the discharge is usually white, whereas bacteria tend to cause a greater amount of yellow or green discharge. Contact lens wearers are prone to unusual infections (Acanthamoeba and fungus) which may be particularly difficult to diagnose and treat. When in doubt, leave your contact lenses out! If any symptoms persist, please schedule an urgent appointment with any Ticho Eye Associates doctor in Chicago Ridge, IL, Tinley Park, IL, and Munster, IN.
Relief For Eye Infections
While antibiotic eye drops will not help a viral infection, they are very effective against most bacteria. Viral infections tend to clear even without treatment within a week or so; occasionally, however, prolonged symptoms from an immune reaction to the infection can last for months and require specialized treatment. If only one eye is affected, avoid cross-contaminating by touching or applying anything to the opposite eye. Both viruses and bacterial pink eye can be very contagious — avoid rubbing your eyes, wash hands frequently, and don’t share towels or pillowcases. Sorry - no kissing until the infection has cleared!