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Eye Infections

Getting treatment online for an eye infection

If you have a persistent eye infection and do not have access to treatment then The Online Clinic can prescribe a range of antibiotic drops and ointments online for next day delivery. Please complete the short medical questionnaire to get access to the treatments online.

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What is an eye infection?

An eye infection occurs when your eyes are invaded by microorganisms. Eye infections vary in type, can involve one or both eyes, and may affect different eye parts. They can cause redness, itching, pain, and altered vision (e.g. blurred vision, increased light sensitivity). Your eyes may produce a discharge that can be watery or thick and yellow, and your eyelids may become swollen and flaky. Perhaps the most well-known eye infection is conjunctivitis or pink eye that is characterised by redness, itching and swelling of the membrane covering the white of the eye and inside of the eyelids. Other examples of common eye infections are styes (red lumps usually on or near the eyelid's edge), blepharitis (swollen eyelids with an oily substance near the lashes), and keratitis (in people with contact lens; the cornea that covers the iris and pupil becomes red and painful, and vision is affected).

Who gets eye infections?

Anyone at any age can get an eye infection. Most people have had or will have an eye infection at some time. However, wearing contact lenses increases your risk of eye infections.

What causes an eye infection?

Eye infections are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and by the body's immune system. Thus, conjunctivitis can be caused by bacterial and viral infections and also by the body reacting to an allergen (allergic conjunctivitis); styes and blepharitis are usually the result of a bacterial infection; and keratitis can have several causes, including bacteria, fungi and parasites. Toxocariasis, which causes reduced visual acuity and eye lesions, is caused by infection with a parasitic roundworm commonly found in dogs and cats.

How are eye infections treated?

Most often, eye infections follow a temporary course, resolving without treatment. However, some infections may need a medicine to resolve and prevent further problems. Compresses, made with a clean cloth soaked in cool or warm water and wrung out, may be placed on your closed eyelid to relieve discomfort and help remove any discharge. Similarly, eye drops known as artificial tears can be used to relieve symptoms of infections. Anti-infective medicines may also be needed and will be selected according to the microorganism your eye is infected with. Thus, antibiotics (e.g. chloramphenicol, ciloxan, fucithalmic, and genticin) may be used for bacterial infections, while antivirals (e.g. acyclovir) are used for viral infections. Sometimes corticosteroids are needed to reduce the inflammation. Anti-infectives can be in the form of eye drops, ointments or orally-taken medicines.

How can I reduce the risk of eye infections and their spreading?

Generally, eye infections are contagious. Many can easily spread from one eye to the other and from one person to another. However, there are some simple ways to prevent spread of infection. Washing your hands frequently is very important if you or others have an eye infection, and particularly before and after touching your eye or eye area, or applying any treatment. Never share your eye medicine with other people. The eye and eye area should be cleaned before treatment application. Otherwise, try not to touch your eyes. It is important to remember that other infections, such as cold sores, flu, measles and chickenpox, are also caused by microorganisms that can lead to eye infections.

If you or your family have symptoms of infection, change facecloths and other linen used on your face after use, change towels, pillows and other bed linen often, and do not share them. It is preferable to avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection, and never share them with friends. If you have contact lenses, then use and thoroughly clean them as directed in the maker's instructions, and do not share them. It is advisable not to wear your contact lenses if you have an eye infection, and to clean them and their container before reuse. Your risk of infection is greater if you sleep with your contact lenses in. Shielding your eyes from extreme weather will also help to protect the surface of your eyes.

If you have an eye infection that does not appear to be going away, is severe or getting worse, or you get new symptoms, then you should contact us or your usual doctor straight away as you may need treatment. A Doctor will be able to prescribe the correct medicine for your eye infection and suggest ways to stop its spread.

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