Burning, tearing and dry eyes - these symptoms can indicate not only that the eyes are tired, but also about possible infections. Sati Agagulyan, head of the high-tech research department of the Clear Eye Children's Clinic, explains why these infections occur and how to treat them.
- Infection can affect any part of the eye - from the conjunctiva to the cornea. As a rule, any type of infection is expressed as inflammation of the external mucous membrane of the eye - conjunctivitis. Therefore, the symptoms are almost always the same as with the disease itself: sensitivity to light, pain, burning, redness, the appearance of secretions and crusts at the beginning of the day.
Eye infections are divided into four types: microbial, viral, fungal and infections caused by protozoa (the rarest).
Photo: shutterstock. com
Most often, doctors come across patients in whom eye diseases are caused by microbial viruses. Microbes that constantly live in the eye, with a decrease in immunity (due to acute respiratory viral infections, flu and other things) begin to multiply actively - and subsequently cause conjunctivitis. Microbial conjunctivitis is characterized by discharge of yellow or yellow-green liquid, red eye syndrome, lacrimation, slightly swollen eyelids.
The most common causative agents of microbial conjunctivitis are staphylococci, streptococci and other bacteria. When the eye is affected by Staphylococcus aureus, the process often becomes chronic, manifesting as redness and fluid from the eye several times a month. To combat such forms of conjunctivitis, a long treatment and many drugs are needed - from drops to ointments.
The most common type of viral conjunctivitis is adenovirus. It is recorded in the autumn-spring period and, together with the above symptoms, can cause an increase in body temperature.
Photo: shutterstock. com
In addition to weak immunity, adenovirus can also cause contact with the virus carrier, hypothermia, eye injury, swimming in the pool, and personal hygiene.
In no case should you self-medicate when symptoms of microbial infections are detected. It is better to contact an ophthalmologist the same or the next day. First, only he can determine the type of disease and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Secondly, timely contact with a specialist will prevent the possibility of damage to the cornea of the eye with improper treatment.
They treat adenovirus with antiviral agents for two weeks, including ointments and drops. Antihistamines may be added to this.
In order not to pick up an adenovirus again, you need to ventilate the room more often, do wet cleaning and observe personal hygiene rules, especially during an exacerbation of colds.
Fungal diseases are more common in patients who wear contact lenses. Moreover, those who wear not daily, but quarterly or semi-annual. Pathogenic fungi that live on the eyelids, lacrimal ducts or conjunctival sac can accumulate on the lens, multiply and cause fungal keratitis. In this case, the cornea itself is affected - the front of the eye. To the symptoms that determine conjunctivitis, blurred vision, a feeling of the presence of a foreign body in the eye, swollen eyelids are added.
It is important to identify a fungal disease in time and not to confuse it with others, such as a bacterial ulcer. It can take a week to diagnose a fungal infection, since the ophthalmologist must analyze the culture on the cornea.
It is not worth delaying treatment, so as not to cause corneal ulcer and subsequently blindness. Suspension solutions and even drops (in extreme cases, if the other drugs do not help) can be used only after the final diagnosis of an ophthalmologist.
Infections caused by protozoa are most often found again in contact lens wearers. Patients can swim in the sea, where protozoa live, and literally stick them with a random hit of water on the lens, and then transfer them to the eye. Protozoa multiply instantly and within a few hours can cause acanthamoebic keratitis. And this is one of the most severe eye lesions that occurs mainly in people aged 20 to 40 years. Patients with dry eye syndrome, diabetes mellitus and after surgery on the eyes fall into a special risk zone.
Severe eye pain, decreased vision, photosensitivity are all signs of keratitis. But to understand this for sure is only possible with a doctor, after biomicroscopy of the eye. And then to be treated in the most usual way - with drops, but it will last a long time, at least six weeks. At the same time, you can use antiseptics, antibacterial drops in parallel. In some neglected cases - if a corneal ulcer occurs - the patient may need surgery.
Unfortunately, often diseases caused by protozoa are not immediately identified by a doctor and are treated with conventional antibiotics. Because of this, the lesion process continues: the cornea begins to lack oxygen - and blood vessels can begin to grow into it. If you start treatment, you can literally go blind - there will be a lesion of the cornea.
Photo: shutterstock. com
This type of infection is worth highlighting in a separate paragraph.
Chlamydial infections are divided into congenital and acquired. Most often, ophthalmologists encounter congenital conjunctivitis in children born to mothers with chlamydia. This is manifested from the first day of the child's life: pronounced flakes appear, separated from the eye. It is very important to understand the deviation in time and start treatment. If white pus lingers, a child may develop a corneal ulcer.
The cornea under this pus seems to melt - it only lasts 3-4 days, if treatment is not immediately prescribed. But usually in maternity hospitals such a pathology is noticed immediately. Still at risk are children who were born during home birth.
Acquired chlamydial infection disguises as usual conjunctivitis: redness, pain, lacrimation. If the patient does not pay attention to this, he may get a chronic form of the disease.
That is, 4-6 times a month (!) In addition to the usual symptoms of the disease, he will have a slight pain and dry eye syndrome.