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Eye Infections

Eye infections are common. They can occur in the outer part of the eye (conjunctivitis, herpetic cornea infection etc.), in the eye lids, the lacrimal glands and ducts or within the eyeball itself (more serious). Here is a list of the more common eye infections.

Various eye infections

Name: Description:
allergic conjunctivitis pollen allergies or toxic reactions can cause red and swollen eyes, can get infected subsequently ; allergy shots help to prevent
bacterial conjunctivitis bacteria cause a pussy (yellow or greenish) eye discharge
bacterial sinus thrombosis  deep eye infections and sinus infections can go through the skull into the large veins around the brain
chalazion chronic inflammation and swelling of the meibomian gland in the eyelid; can be treated with local corticosteroid injections; might need lancing after 6 weeks; antibiotic when superinfected
chlamydial / gonococcal conjunctivitis in newborns these bacteria come from a contaminated birth canal; in adults they are sexually transmitted
corneal ulcer various bacteria and viruses can cause it, photophobia, tearing eyes, pain
herpes simplex keratitis herpes simplex type I can affect the lips and the eyes, see the link for more info

More eye infections:

herplex zoster ophthalmicus

herpes zoster eye infections can affect various structures of the eye (see links)
interstitial keratitis  often associated with uveitis, rare in the US, common in Africa. Syphilis, tuberculosis, leprosy and trachoma can all cause this serious condition
mycotic keratitis infection of cornea with molds or yeasts (common in the southern US)
orbital cellulitis a life threatening infection of the deep structures of the eye
stye (also called hordeolum) there are two forms, a superficial and deep form. Anatomically the superficial form affects the glands of Zeis or Moll, which are close to the root of the eye lashes.
viral conjunctivitis a virus can cause pink eye, other viruses cause more severe infections


Early orbital cellulitis

Early orbital cellulitis

Allergy shots for allergic conjunctivitis

Allergies can also cause chronic inflammatory conjunctivitis and chronic irritation of the eye lids. Such patients need to be seen by an allergist to get a handle on the chronic situation, particularly when the allergies are year-round. In these cases desensitization against the allergens is advisable. This is done by way of allergy shots using the diluted serum of a concoction made up from the allergens against which the patient is allergic. This works amazingly well. I have seen children and adults with runny eyes that were halfway shut closed most of the year convert into individuals with normal looking eyes. No longer were they plagued by chronic tearing and itching. Milder cases can be carried through their allergic season with the non-tiring antihistamines. Ask your physician for further guidance in your case.



1. The Merck Manual: Eye Disorders

2. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.

3. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier

Last modified: October 30, 2021

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.