Infection of the eye

Ocular infections

Ocular infections can be bacterial, viral, or fungal. Bacterial infections are usually staphylococcal, streptococcal, or pneumococcal. Chlamydia and gonococcal bacteria may also cause infections, especially in newborns. Viral infection is most commonly due to the herpes simplex virus.

Different parts of the eye can be infected and inflamed. Blepharitis is an infection of the eyelids, characterized by red and swollen eyelids. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the cornea or the inside of the eyelid and shows similar symptoms. More serious infections are e.g. keratitis and iritis. Infections of the cornea and internal eye threaten vision and must be treated by an ophthalmologist.

Ocular infections are mostly treated by local application of antimicrobials in eye drops or gels. Systemic therapy is sometimes necessary.