Common Eye Infections and Treatments

Eye infections are extremely common. Many people have heard of or got eye conditions such as pink eye and sty.

Broadly speaking, the causes for almost all kinds of eye infections can be divided into the following categories: bacterial infections, fungal infections, viral infections or allergic reactions. The treatment is primarily based upon the cause instead of the condition itself.

Bacterial infections

Eye drops containing antibiotics are the treatment, such as levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, tobramycin, etc..

Fungal infections

Antifungal creams or eye drops are used, such as clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, tioconazole, terbinafine, and amorolfine.

Viral infections

In general, acyclovir creams or ganciclovir creams are used.

Allergic reactions

Eye drops or creams that contain antihistamines (benadryl) or corticosteroids may be used to relieve the itching and the associated swelling.

Below are some common types of eye infections and the associated treatments.

Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)

The medical term for pink eye is conjunctivitis. In the majority of cases, this is caused by viral infections of the conjunctiva, a membrane that covers the outer surface of your eyes. The virus is transmitted by direct contact, such as when your hands touch an item contaminated with the virus and then you touch your eyes with your hands. Infrequently you might get this condition in the swimming pool. Your eyes will become red, swelling and congested. You may also have a copious of watery discharge.

Mostly the condition gets better after about 10 days without any particular treatment. However, for pink eye caused by bacterial infections or allergies, eye drops containing antibiotics or antihistamines/corticosteroids respectively are needed.


Keratitis is much more severe than pink eye, as this condition may cause permanent vision damages or even blindness.

Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea, a structure that lies in front of your pupils. Keratitis can be caused by either bacterial infections, fungal infections or viral or even parasitic infections. It causes eye swelling, redness, decreased visions, light sensitivity or a sense of foreign bodies stuck in your eye. This condition is more likely to occur in those who wear contact lenses.

Unlike pink eye, keratitis would not go away on its own. Instead, it is a medical emergency that needs rapid medical attention. Depending on the cause, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics, antiviral medications, antifungals or even medications to eradicate parasites.


Blepharitis just means inflammation of your eyelids. This disease occurs frequently in those with eye make-ups, which may cause the eyelash to be blocked. Moreover, some may be allergic to the eye make-ups used.

Blepharitis occurs when the oil glands get blocked and the bacteria get inside. Symptoms include redness, swelling and itching of your eyelids. Additionally, dandruff may appear in the eyelids. The treatment is mostly antibiotic creams, in addition to washing your eyes with clean water.


A sty is a bump that occurs most frequently on your eyelids that results from blockage of the oil glands. In contrast to blepharitis which is diffuse among your eyelids, a sty often involves a proportion of your eyelid by forming a red and swollen bump.

A sty is mostly a bacterial infection that invades your oil glands in the eyelids. You have tenderness, pain, eye watering, and eye congestion with a sty. It is recommended to wash your eyes with clean water, followed by applying a clean and warm cloth a few times a day. Frequently antibiotic eye drops are used.


Eye herpes is a medical emergency.

Eye herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus-1 (genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus-2).

This virus is spread directly from a person with an active infection. The most salient symptom is the formation of clusters of blisters around the eyes, which may also cause pain, light sensitivity and eye discharge. If the herpes involves the cornea, then it may cause corneal scarring that significantly affects the vision. Applying acyclovir creams would facilitate the healing.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.