Over a million people in the US suffer from some type of eye infection each year. Most of these infections can be avoided by following proper hygiene. Also, through correct identification, many can be treated at home.
Bright Side, through this article, will help you identify and treat the 3 most common eye infections, which don’t threaten your vision, but can be extremely irritating and painful. As the adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, don’t miss our bonus to know how you can avoid getting infected altogether.
Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a highly contagious infection that manifests itself in the form of inflammation of the outer layer of the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. In almost 65% of cases conjunctivitis gets cured without treatment in 2 to 5 days and treatment deals only with reducing the itchiness of the eyes.
Allergic conjunctivitis: Red or pink eyes, pain, itching
Viral conjunctivitis: Red eyes, periodic itching, increased tears
Bacterial conjunctivitis: Red or pink eyes, dryness of the eyes and the skin around them, eye discharge that may form a crust while sleeping
Causes: Allergens, Virus (mostly among adults), bacteria (mostly among kids)
- Use a compress: Soak a soft towel in cold or warm water (depending on your preference) and then wring it out. Apply it to the eyes and let it rest there until the itching subsides. Use separate towels for each eye and use a new towel every time.
- Use honey: Mix honey and water in equal parts and stir well. Soak cotton balls in it and apply over your eyes. Perform this 2 to 3 times every day until the symptoms subside.
A stye is a pimple-like red lump formed on the eyelid (both upper and lower). It occurs due to the infection of the oil glands present in the eyelids. It’s very painful, but it usually resolves itself in few days or at most in few weeks without any treatment.
Symptoms: Red, pimple-like inflammation on the eyelid, swelling of the eyelid, irritation of the eye, light sensitivity, blurred vision
Causes: Bacterial infection of the meibomian gland or the gland of Zeis
- Use a warm compress: Wet a soft towel with warm water, wring it out so that it is not dripping wet. Place it over the eye with stye. Let is stay for 10-15 minutes. Repeat it several times in a day.
- Use black tea bag: Put a black tea bag over the eye with the stye, but remember not to use hot or warm tea bags. Let it stay for 5-10 minutes.
Blepharitis is a noncontagious inflammation of the eyelid. Although blepharitis does not threaten the loss of sight, it can in some cases lead to permanent alterations of the eyelid margin.
Symptoms: Swollen eyelids, red eyes, sticking of eyelids, formation of dandruff-like flakes on the eyelids, light sensitivity
Causes: Bacterial infection. Skin conditions like dandruff or rosacea can up the risk of the infection.
- Warm compress: Soak a towel in warm water, wring it to drain out the excess water. Apply it to the eye and let it stay for 5-10 minutes. After removing, use a moist cotton ball to remove the dandruff-like crust from the eyelid. Repeat several times a day.
- Use tea bags: Apply warm black tea bags over the eyelid. Keep it over the eyelid and then dispose of the teabag.
- Consume food with healthy fats: Foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and olive oil can decrease inflammation and help in the healing of the skin.
Bonus: How to prevent eye infections from happening and spreading
- Maintain proper hygiene: Wash your hands properly before touching your eyes. You can also use hand sanitizers to keep your hands clean.
- Do not use contaminated or unclean water to wash your eyes.
- Never share towels, pillows, handkerchiefs, etc.
- Keep your eye care kit clean, and change it every six months to avoid germs from inhabiting them.
- Never share your eye care kit with anyone.
- Keep your eyeglasses and contact lenses clean and never share your cleaner.
- If your eyes get infected, do not use eye makeup and avoid using contact lenses.
Which of these three infections did you contract? Were they irritating? We sincerely hope that our tips will help you quickly identify the infection and take measures to lessen the irritation and cure it.
Illustrated by Yekaterina Ragozina for Bright Side