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A Guide To Common Types Of Eye Infections

Eye infections are not as uncommon as you would think. Many adults and children develop eye infections ranging from mild to severe. Unfortunately, eye infections can affect your social and work life without proper treatment.

That is why we decided to compile a list of some of the common eye infections you or a child can develop. This helpful guide covers the causes, symptoms, and treatment of these eye infections.

Additionally, you will also find out if the eye infections are contagious and what you should do to improve our conditions and prevent them from spreading. Keep scrolling to read the list.

Eye Infections You Could Develop

Conjunctivitis/ Pink Eye

Pink eye is one common eye infection that occurs when blood vessels in the conjunctiva become infected by a bacteria or virus. The conjunctiva is the thin outermost membrane of the eye.

The result of this infection is a pink or red, inflamed eye. There are two types of conjunctivitis:

  • Viral conjunctivitis. It is more common in adults than children, and the adenovirus causes about 77% of cases.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis. It is more common in children and less frequent. This type of infection is often caused by Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Pink eye comes with noticeable symptoms such as watery discharge from your eyes that is thickest in the morning, reddish or pink tint in your eyes, itchiness of the eye, and irritation like something is in your eye, and producing more tears.

Doctors treat the bacterial pink eye with antibiotic eye drops, oral medications, and ointments. Viral pink eye has no treatment, and all you can do is apply a wet compress to relieve discomfort until symptoms fade in a week.

Both viral and bacterial pink eye are highly contagious. It is important to practice good hygiene to prevent it from spreading to others.


Keratitis is an infection of the cornea that causes swelling and redness of the eye. The cornea is the clear layer that covers the pupil and iris. Bacteria often cause keratitis, but it can also occur due to eye injury, a virus, parasite, or fungi.

The two main types of keratitis are:

  • Bacterial keratitis. This form of keratitis can be caused by bacteria such as S. aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, S. pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is common in contact lens wearers.
  • Viral keratitis. It is commonly caused by the herpes simplex virus and can lead to infectious blindness.

Symptoms of keratitis start with redness and swelling in the eye. You will then develop pain and discomfort while producing more tears than usual. You can also develop blurry vision, light sensitivity, and irritation.

Doctors treat bacterial keratitis with antibacterial drops. If you have fungal keratitis, you will receive antifungal drops. Viral infections are more severe, and you will require oral antiviral medication. Unfortunately, even with the medication, viral keratitis may return.

Infectious keratitis is contagious as the bacteria or virus can spread from person to person. However, keratitis from an injury is not contagious.


Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids. The eyelids are the skin folds that cover your eyes when you blink or close them. It is an inflammatory condition that is brought by the clogging of oil glands inside the eyelid and the base of the eyelashes.

The types of blepharitis include:

  • Anterior Blepharitis. It affects the eyelid skin, base, and follicles of the eyelashes.
  • Posterior Blepharitis. It affects the inner edge of the eyelid that touches the eyeball.
  • Mixed Blepharitis. It is when both anterior and posterior occur in the eye.

Symptoms of this infection start with redness, itchiness, and swelling in the eye. Then you will get eyelid oiliness and a sensation of burning in your eyes. You will also produce more tears than usual and develop sensitivity to light. Your eyelashes and corners of the eyes will develop some crustiness, and you will feel like something is stuck in your eye.

Doctors treat blepharitis with antibiotics, lubricating eye drops, and corticosteroid eye drops. You can also clean your eyes with clean water and a towel to relieve swelling. Luckily, blepharitis is not contagious.


Sty, stye eye, or hordeolum, is a painful pimple-like lump that develops from the oil glands on the outer edges of the eye. The glands can easily get clogged with oils, dead skin, and dirt which promotes bacterial growth and causes an infection.

There are two types of styes:

  • External styes. The stye develops on the outer part of the upper or lower eyelid. They are very common and occur due to an infection in your eyelash follicle.
  • Internal styes. The stye develops on the inner eyelids and faces the eyeball. They occur due to an infection in the inner eyelid gland that produces oils to keep your eyelid moist.

Symptoms of styes start with a visible bump or pimple on the edge of the eye. You will develop pain and tenderness followed by swelling, irritation, and itchiness. You will also develop crustiness around the eyelids and more tear production.

Doctors recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage pain and swelling. You will also get antibiotic ointments to kill infectious overgrowth. You can use a clean damp compress to clean the eyelids.

Styes are generally not contagious unless the bacteria moves from you to someone else.

A Blocked Tear Duct

And finally, you can develop a blocked tear duct due to dirt, oils, and dead skin. It commonly occurs in newborns and causes watery and irritated eyes. You could develop a secondary infection due to this condition that will cause redness, swelling, and discharge from the eye.

Luckily, a blocked tear duct often heals on its own, and you will rarely need medical assistance. However, if you notice a secondary infection, you should seek medical care to prevent spreading.

Doctors will administer antibiotic drops to clear the infection. In the meantime, you could avoid rubbing your eyes. Blocked tear ducts are not contagious. However, if you develop a secondary bacterial infection, you can spread it to others.

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