Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis – Getting Proper Care for Common Infections of the Eye

Eye infections are a variety of eye diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and viruses. Eye infections are not age-selective and, as such, affect everyone. There are wide varieties of eye infections, each presenting different clinical symptoms. Some eye infections are mild and disappear for a while, even without treatment. In contrast, others can be sight-threatening and have the potential to cause blindness. Also, some eye infections can be life-threatening by causing secondary systemic infections. Proper diagnosis of the specific pathogen associated with the infection plays a crucial role in treatment and management. Eyes are delicate organs and, as such, are susceptible to injuries if handled by the wrong professionals. 

Eye infections

Eye infections are usually common in three structural parts of the eye, namely:

  1. Eyelid: The eyelid is a thin fold layer of skin that covers the eye and protects it from external injuries. The eyelids safeguard the eyes from excessive sunlight. In addition, it helps reduce friction in the eye by properly distributing tears in the eye. 
  2. Cornea: The cornea is the transparent part that shields the iris, pupil, and anterior part of the eye. It protects the eyes from dirt and allows light to reach the anterior part through it. 
  3. Conjunctiva: The conjunctiva is the thin transparent membrane covering the sclera (the eyeball’s white part). It extends from the eyelid margin to the limbus of the eye. The conjunctiva protects the eye and keeps it lubricated. 

Types of eye infections

Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis is commonly known as pink eyes. It occurs when the blood vessels in the conjunctiva become infected by pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Inflammation of the conjunctiva leads to conjunctivitis. It can be due to allergic reactions or microbial infestation. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious as opposed to pink eye caused by viruses and bacteria, which can spread through the secretions of an infected person. 

Causes: Virus, bacteria, amoeba, fungi, eye drops, allergens like pollen grains, and dust. 

Symptoms

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Yellowish discharge from the eyes. 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Swollen conjunctiva 
  • Tears in the eyes 
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light

Treatment options

Treatment of pink eyes requires proper diagnosis. For those caused by viruses, it tends to disappear after a course of time, usually 4-7 days. Bacterial conjunctivitis usually gets better after 2-5 days but completely disappears in 2 weeks or more. Antibiotics are the line of treatment for pink eyes caused by stubborn bacterial infections. A class of drugs called antihistamines is helpful for conjunctivitis resulting from allergic reactions. It is important to note that antibiotics are not effective for viral conjunctivitis. 

When to see a doctor?

  • Intense redness in the eyes
  • Severe pains in the eyes
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • When symptoms persist for an extended period
  • People with weak immune systems, such as cancer and HIV patients and those on immunosuppressive drugs, must see a doctor. 

Complications of Conjunctivitis

Most cases of conjunctivitis are usually mild and subside after some days without treatment. Complications can also arise in rare cases and can be life-threatening. Some of the intricacies of conjunctivitis include:

  • Pathogens can spread to other body parts, leading to secondary infections like meningitis. 
  • Scarring of the eyes can occur due to chronic allergic conjunctivitis. 
  • Conjunctivitis can also lead to blindness.

Blepharitis: This is an inflammation of the eyelid with complex causes. Another name for it is lid margin disease because it affects the eyelids. Blepharitis may present reddish or swollen characteristics or a burning sensation. It is most common in people with oily skin, dandruff, and rosacea. 

Causes: overpopulation of bacteria, clogged oil glands on the eyelids, hormone issues, allergies, and viral infection. 

Symptoms

  • Redness of the eyelid 
  • Swollen eyelashes 
  • Irritation 
  • Loss of eyelashes 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Crusty discharges on the eyelashes 
  • Itchiness 
  • Increased sensitivity to light 
  • Peeling of skin around the eyes

Treatment options

Blepharitis treatment usually involves self-care measures – washing your face regularly and keeping your eyelid free from crusts. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Blepharitis. However, one can control the symptoms with the help of an ophthalmologist. Other control measures for Blepharitis include eyelid scrubs, warm compression, use of antibiotics, eye drops, and omega-3 fatty acids. One can also treat Blepharitis with steroid ointments and eye drops to reduce the rate of inflammation. If caused by seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, or other underlying diseases, you can control it by treating the primary conditions. 

When to see a doctor?

See a doctor if your symptoms do not improve despite good hygiene. Complications of Blepharitis usually include:

  1. Chalazion
  2. Development of conjunctivitis
  3. Development of sty
  4. Dry eyes caused by abnormal oil secretion

Getting Proper Care for Eye Infections

If you are suffering from any eye infection or minor injuries affecting your eyes, we can help. TGH Urgent Care, powered by Fast Track, offers reliable, prompt, and comprehensive patient care. We present you with a better and more affordable option instead of waiting in line at the hospital queue for hours only to be greeted with a hefty bill. You can quickly locate our walk-in clinics; we offer prompt treatment in a conducive and welcoming atmosphere. We are here for you whether you are dealing with pink eyes (conjunctivitis), Blepharitis, or other eye-associated diseases or injuries. Our team of board-certified professionals with overarching experience is ready to run a diagnosis on you with our state-of-the-art medical equipment and adequately treat you. 

From 8 AM to 8PM, 7 days a week, our 16 Tampa Bay Urgent Care Centers are open. Therefore, you can easily choose a convenient time for your visit. In addition, you can book online to save a spot through our On My Way System. Most of our appointments usually end in one hour or less.

Disclaimer

The blogs presented by TGH Urgent Care in partnership with Fast Track are not a replacement for medical care and are exclusively intended for educational purposes. The content provided here should not be construed as medical guidance. If you are encountering any symptoms, we strongly recommend that you seek an appointment with a duly qualified medical practitioner at our nearest facility.

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Announcement

Commitment to Responsible Prescribing Practices

We are committed to responsible antibiotic prescribing practices. Our goal is to adequately treat infections while protecting our community from the harmful effects of antibiotic resistant infections. TGH Urgent Care has earned the Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation Award from the Urgent Care Association due to our ongoing commitment to this goal.

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