Ocular Infections

Ocular infections can effect any part of the eye.  Ocular infections, when severe, may lead to decreased vision, blindness, and even loss of the eye. Infections may be due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms or other parasites. Prompt and accurate diagnosis with effective treatment is necessary to preserve vision.

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye,” is a common eye condition that affects the conjunctiva, the thin layer that covers the white part of the eye.  The most common causes of conjunctivitis are viruses, bacteria, and allergens.  Viral Conjunctivitis is usually accompanied by a chest cold and watery discharge. Drops can be used to help soothe the eye. Antibiotics are not effective.  Bacterial Conjunctivitis is usually associated with thick, yellow-green discharge and can be treated with antibiotic eye drops.  Allergic Conjunctivitis causes intense itching and can be treated with antihistamine eye drops.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis

Keratitis

Keratitis involves infection of the cornea. Bacteria, Herpes virus, and sometimes worms or parasites may be the cause. Topical antibiotic or antiviral therapy is usually necessary to treat the infection.

Keratitis with dendritic ulcers on the cornea due to the Herpes Simplex Virus

Keratitis with dendritic ulcers on the cornea due to the Herpes Simplex Virus

Endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis is usually a bacterial infection involving the inside of the eye. Bacteria may gain entrance into the eye during intraocular surgery (including eye injections). It can also occur through an infection in the bloodstream. Symptoms include pain, light sensitivity, redness, floaters, and vision loss. Treatment requires the injection of antibiotics into the eye, and sometimes surgery to remove the infected vitreous. Improvement in vision is often achieved. The amount of visual improvement is affected by the duration of the infection, therefor prompt evaluation is recommended if endophthalmitis is suspected.

Accumulation of pus in the anterior chamber due to Endophthalmitis

Accumulation of pus in the anterior chamber due to Endophthalmitis

Posterior Ocular Infections

Posterior Ocular Infections are infections that commonly involve the posterior aspect of the eye including vitreous, optic nerve, retina, and blood vessels. The infecting agent travels to the eye via the bloodstream. Rapid and sometimes severe loss of vision may occur. One or both eyes may be involved. Symptoms may also include pain and light sensitivity. Treatment involves eradicating the infecting organism. Systemic antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals are usually effective. Occasionally, intravitreal medicine is injected directly into the eye to treat the infection. Steroids may be recommended to prevent further damage.

Retinitis due to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii

Retinitis due to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii