Roughly one million Americans deal with an eye infection in a single year.
Eye infections are unpleasant, make going about your day almost impossible, and can sometimes have a notoriously long healing process.
Refusing to share makeup, always changing your contacts diligently, and washing your hands before you touch your eye for any reason can lower your risk for eye infections.
However sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid catching one, you still end up with bacterial infections in the eyes.
Whether you’re dealing with pink eye, fungal keratitis, trachoma, or another infection, knowing how to spot the signs of a problem is essential. The sooner you figure out what the infection is and how to treat it, the faster you’ll get relief.
So, what are the main signs of an eye infection?
Read on to find out.
1. You’ve Spotted a Bump
Stye infections aren’t only one of the most common kinds of eye infections, they’re also one of the easiest to identify.
If you have a small red bump that’s right on the edge of your upper or lower eyelid, then it’s likely a stye. They’re sensitive to the touch, they increase in size pretty quickly, and most of all, they’re extremely contagious.
While often, styes will go away on their own with time, you’ll need to be incredibly diligent when it comes to washing your hands and resisting the urge to check the stye and the surrounding area.
Many people just opt to have an eye doctor take a look at it and prescribe medication to make the infection go away faster.
2. Your Eyes Look Abnormal
Now all eye infection symptoms are painful.
Sometimes, you can tell that you’re dealing with an eye infection simply because of the way your eye looks.
Have you noticed that your eyelids are purple, especially pink, or red? Maybe the whites of your eyes look a bit pinkish and are much more bloodshot than usual.
You might even spot more “crust” than you usually have on your eyelashes and lids — especially when you first wake up. If you have serious eye discharge that’s greenish or yellow, you need to go to an eye doctor immediately.
3. Trouble With Your Vision
Has your vision been a bit blurry lately?
Are you getting headaches after reading or working on your computer for a long period of time? Does everything look a bit out of focus?
Many people take these symptoms as a sign that the need glasses, but in reality, they could simply be dealing with an eye infection that’s clouding their vision. You may also find that you’re extra sensitive to light.
The only way to know for sure is to seek a professional opinion.
You should also make an effort to learn more about what you can do to reduce eye strain in general. Investing in blue light blocking glasses, taking a five-minute break from a screen every hour, and even wearing sunglasses when you go outdoors can help.
4. Itchy Eyes
Bacterial infections in eyes are never pleasant, but if an infection is making your eyes itchy and dry or water, they’re even worse.
Sometimes, itchy eyes can simply be a symptom of an allergy to pollen, pet dander, or dust. Histamines are released in your eye tissue in an attempt to fight off these allergens, but they also cause your eyes to seriously itch.
You may also be suffering from dry eyes, an allergy to your makeup or contact solutions, or even something more serious like blepharitis. That’s when tons of bacteria and, in rare cases, even minuscule mites, have started to call your eyelids home.
You can certainly see why this is an issue you want to take care of right away.
5. Eye Pain
Do your eyes hurt pretty much all the time? Do you feel pain every time you blink or even when you adjust your gaze?
If so, there could be quite a few different causes and solutions.
Just like with blurry vision, you may want to take an eye test to ensure that you don’t need glasses. You may also have injured your eye in some way, such as a scratched cornea.
You may just be dealing with eye strain, or you may have a sinus infection in your eyes.
Other possibilities include a pinkeye infection, keratitis, or even a microscopic foreign body like dirt or dust that’s gotten stuck in your eye.
be aware that extreme, continuous eye pain is a symptom of glaucoma. Because this could eventually cause you to lose your sight if untreated, you need to schedule an appointment with an eye specialist ASAP to prevent things from getting worse.
Convinced You Have an Eye Infection?
Are you currently experiencing any of the eye infection symptoms on this list?
Dealing with another vision problem that you’ve been putting off taking care of for far too long?
While many people are afraid of going to the eye doctor, it’s important to remember that a failure to take care of a problem quickly can make it take much longer to heal. It may even permanently impact your vision.
Stop procrastinating and book your eye doctor appointment today.
Curious about the best foods and supplements for eye health? Want to know how you can apply flattering makeup that looks great on glasses-wearers? Thinking of making the switch to contact lenses, and want to know what to expect?
Keep checking back in with our blog for more tips on how to take the best possible care of yourself.