Top Ways to Prevent Eye Infections
While it is not possible to prevent eye infections altogether, there are ways to reduce the risk significantly.
In addition to proper eye care at our practice, serving Salinas, CA, Monterey, CA, and surrounding areas, patients can follow a few simple guidelines to help prevent bacterial, fungal, and viral infections from developing. Drs. Eric Del Piero and Leland Rosenblum discuss the top ways to prevent eye infections and offer a few recommendations for identifying and treating any conditions that may occur.
Awareness Is Key: A Look at the Most Common Eye Infections
Several types of eye infections can develop. Some of the most common eye infections treated at our Monterey practice include:
- Keratitis: This condition is characterized by corneal inflammation and infection. It can occur from trauma, but is also commonly caused by harmful bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
- Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections. It occurs when blood vessels in the outermost ocular membrane (conjunctiva) become infected by a virus or bacteria.
- Blepharitis: This condition is characterized by inflammation and swelling of the eyelids. While it is typically caused by clogged oil glands, it can also be caused by bacteria.
- Uveitis: The uvea is the central layer of the eye and it is responsible for transporting blood to the retina. Uveitis occurs when this part of the eye becomes infected.
- Sty: This pimple-like bump appears on the outer edges of the eyelids and can be quite painful. A sty is caused by blocked oil glands and results in a bacterial infection.
- Endophthalmitis: This condition can occur following trauma in which the eye is penetrated. It may also develop after eye surgery in some instances. Endophthalmitis is severe inflammation of the inside of the eye and is often due to a candida fungal infection.
- Cellulitis: When eye tissues become infected, it can result in eyelid cellulitis. It may develop from a scratch or from an infection of the sinuses or other nearby structures.
- Ocular herpes: HSV-1 can be spread to the eye by someone who has an active infection. This condition typically only affects one eye at a time.
How to Prevent Eye Infections
The best way to prevent eye infections is to practice good personal hygiene. Though many of these recommendations are common sense, they are helpful reminders:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially before touching your eyes.
- Do not share cosmetics with other individuals.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- If you develop an eye infection, be sure to replace cosmetic applicators.
- Thoroughly clean your face and eyelids before going to bed.
- If you wear contacts, clean them and wear them according to your doctor’s recommendations.
- Replace your contact lens case at least every three months.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals, tobacco smoke, and other irritants.
- Clean your clothes, towels, and bedsheets regularly.
How to Treat Symptoms
What if you have already developed symptoms associated with an eye infection? The first thing you should do is call our office and schedule a visit. To reduce redness, swelling, itchiness, and discharge, try these home remedies:
- Gently wash your eyelids with a doctor-recommended cleanser.
- Use a warm washcloth or eye compress to soothe the eyes before bedtime.
- Carefully remove discharge from the eyes using a soft, clean washcloth, warm water, and diluted baby shampoo.
Contact Our Practice to Learn More
Want to know more about preventing common eye infections? Reach out to one of our skilled and knowledgeable team members. To schedule an appointment at our Salinas-area practice, contact us online or call our office at (831) 375-2020.