Ocular Inflammations & Infections

Inflammation and infection are two of the ways your body can respond to injury, infection or irritation.

Inflammation

Any part of your body has the potential to become inflamed, including your eyes. The inflammation may be in response to normally harmless substances (like dust, grass or pollen) in an allergic reaction. Sometimes the immune system may trigger inflammation in response to the body’s own tissues, which is an autoimmune reaction.

Eye inflammation can occur as a response to allergy, autoimmune disorders, infection, injury (or trauma), or irritation, to the eye or eyelid.

The resulting symptoms of eye inflammation can affect not only the eyes, but also the eyelids or surrounding tissues. These symptoms may include discharge, itching, pain, redness, swelling, tearing and/or unusual warmth or heat.

Eye inflammation is potentially a sign of a serious condition such as an anaphylactic shock, corneal abrasion, or orbital cellulitis.

You should always seek prompt medical care if you have any amount or type of eye inflammation that is unexplained or persistent, or that causes you concern for any reason.

You should also seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you suffer any type of injury or trauma to the eye; or, if you have eyelid, facial and/or mouth swelling, severe difficulty breathing, or any type of sudden change in your vision.

Infection

An eye infection is an ailment caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal agents. There are numerous types of eye infections, with various causes and treatments.

CornealInfection

Infected Cornea

Infection can have varying underlying causes and can in turn become an underlying cause of a corneal ulcer, which resembles an abscess on the eye. When left untreated, a corneal ulcer can lead to severe vision loss.

Some of the more serious eye infections can penetrate the deeper, interior portions of the eye to create sight-threatening conditions such as endophthalmitis.

Orbital cellulitis, an infection found in and around the soft tissue of the eyelids, is an emergency situation because the condition can spread if left untreated.

Dr. Singh can diagnose any eye infection or condition and recommend an appropriate treatment which may include antibiotic and/or other medicinal regimens.

Treatment for eye inflammation and/or infection as well as their symptoms depends on the underlying cause.

Methicillin-Resistant Bacteria

Methicillin-resistant bacteria, and in particular Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the major causes of inflammatory disease. Often, this condition stems from antibiotic use on a long-term basis as well as being hospitalized in an intensive care unit, and from risks associated with being a health care worker.

Ocular Allergic Diseases

Ocular allergic diseases are also a major problem as allergies affect approximately one-third of our population; and, ocular allergy is found in 77% of those suffering any type of allergy. It has been shown to be a costly disorder to society with allergic rhinitis resulting in an annual loss of 4 million days of work and school. The economic impact is estimated to be over $18 billion annually.

Patients need to be diagnosed quickly and efficiently since the small percentage of emergency visits resulting from much more serious ocular emergencies require immediate and intensive care.

Pink Eye

Pink eye, often just called conjunctivitis, can sound scary and is often contagious; however, this common eye problem is almost always easily treated. Additionally, with a few simple precautions, it can usually be avoided.

Preschoolers, schoolchildren, college students, teachers and daycare workers are in the highest risk category for contagious types of pink eye because of close proximity with others in a classroom setting.

It is involves inflammation of the thin, clear covering of the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids (conjunctiva). When something causes inflammation in this area, it can cause the conjunctival blood vessels to dilate resulting in the eye’s pink or reddish appearance.

The three primary types of conjunctivitis and their causes

Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus (similar to that which causes the common cold) and is very contagious. Generally, it will clear up without medical treatment within several days.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated.

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by irritants to the eye such as animal dander, dust and/or pollen. It may be seasonal (as in the case of pollen) or flare up year-round (as in cases caused by dust or pet dander).

Symptoms

Symptoms can range from itchy, burning and/or watery eyes to light sensitivity. A sticky, yellow or greenish-yellow discharge may occur in the corner of the eye; sometimes severe enough to cause your eyelids to be stuck together when you wake up. Any of these symptoms may also be accompanied by a stuffy and/or runny nose.

Contagious forms can be spread not only by touch, but though coughing and/or sneezing.

Treatment of pink eye, as you would expect, depends on the type of conjunctivitis you have contracted. A visit to Eye Specialists of Texas would be warranted with any indication of pink eye. Very serious eye problems such as a corneal ulcer can potentially develop and cause permanent vision loss.

Red Eye

Red eye is the leading cause of emergency visits to ophthalmologists. Basically it is one of the cardinal signs of ocular inflammation.

There are a large number of possible causes for red eye. Among the most common are an allergic reaction; bacterial, chemical or viral conjunctivitis; blepharitis; and corneal abrasion.