Eye Infections Q & A


Eye infections can be itchy, painful, and potentially harmful if left untreated. Patients can trust the experienced team at Ford Eye Center in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, to safely and effectively diagnose and treat eye conditions before further complications occur. Short-notice appointments are available to ensure patients find relief as soon as possible.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of an Eye Infection?

Patients with an eye infection may experience any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Pain, redness, itching
  • Discharge from the eye (either watery or yellow/green)
  • Gritty feeling; sensation of something in the eye
  • Crusting over the eyes after sleeping
  • Aversion to bright lights
  • Watering or tearing

Because some eye infections, especially those affecting the posterior segment (back of the eye) don’t cause pain or other noticeable symptoms, routine eye examinations are important.

What Kinds of Eye Infections Can Occur?

Eye infections are identified by the part of the eye affected:

  • Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the clear outside layer of the eye
  • Blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelid
  • Keratitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the cornea
  • Vitritis describes inflammation of the liquid filling the inside of the eye
  • Chorioretinitis is used when the retina or blood vessels are inflamed
  • Neuroretinitis refers to inflammation of the optic nerve

Eye infections can also be bacterial, viral, or fungal.

Can Eye Infections Be Managed Without Intervention From a Doctor?

Some eye infections may resolve on their own, but it’s always important to seek evaluation from an eye doctor to determine the cause of the infection, the structure(s) affected, and the risk associated with the infection. Once the doctor knows more about the infection, he or she can make an informed decision about safe treatment.

What Causes Infections of the Eye?

Eye infections are caused by exposure to a harmful pathogen (either bacterial, fungal, or viral). Exposure can come from other people, airborne pathogens, or contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.

How are Eye Infections Treated?

The treatment plan depends on the pathogen causing the infection and the structures affected. In most cases, bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Most viral infections resolve on their own over time, but serious viral infections affecting the eye, such as shingles, may require antiviral treatment. Fungal infections are treated with antifungals. Sometimes treatment is taken orally, and other times it’s applied directly to the eye through an eye drop.