How Can You Prevent an Eye Infection?

Image of hand holding a contact lens.

Do your eyes feel swollen, itchy or watery? If so, you might want to book an appointment with your eye doctor to have your eyes examined. Although many people automatically attribute their discomfort to allergies, it’s important to leave the diagnosis to a trained professional that is knowledgeable about eye health.

Often, the true cause of a person’s eye irritation is an eye infection. Eye infections are extremely common and can affect any part of the eye — from the eyelids to the retinas. While there are many different types of infections that can affect our eyes, each one can be categorized as fungal, bacterial or viral. Eye infections can range from pink eye (conjunctivitis), the inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye, to blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid that is often associated with an infection.

What Can Cause an Eye Infection?

Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are an excellent alternative to eyeglasses, but they can also cause infections if you do not maintain a strict hygiene routine. This is because contact lenses restrict the amount of oxygen that reaches your corneas, transforming the eye area into a potential breeding ground for bacterial or fungal buildup. However, practicing good ocular hygiene habits helps ensure that your eyes receive a sufficient amount of oxygen, bolstering their ability to stave off infection.

Ways you can decrease your chance of developing an eye infection due to contact lens use include:

  • Washing your hands before placing a contact lens on your eye.
  • Removing your contacts immediately if one (or both) of your eyes becomes red or irritated.
  • Always disposing used lenses into the garbage, if you use daily-wear contact lenses. Do not reuse them.
  • Always placing weekly- or monthly-use contact lenses in contact lens solution for the recommended amount of time, to remove bacteria from the lens. Once their allotted time is up, dispose them immediately and replace them with a fresh set.

Sharing Eye Makeup

Another potential cause of infection is using old or borrowed makeup. While keeping your old mascara can save you money, it can also increase your chance of getting an eye infection. Human eyelashes naturally have bacteria on them, which are transferred into your mascara tube with each use. Using old mascara from a tube that has been sitting for a long period of time increases your chance of getting an eye infection, because very little oxygen has been introduced into the old tube over time, contributing to the potential buildup of bacteria.

Borrowing someone else’s makeup can also transfer bacteria. That is why, in addition to replacing old makeup within a reasonable time frame, it is highly recommended that individuals refrain from sharing makeup.

To help prevent an eye infection due to makeup use, you should:

  • Replace old makeup within the manufacturer’s recommended time frame.
  • Avoid sharing any of your cosmetics with friends or family.
  • Always wash your hands before applying makeup on or around the eye.
  • Avoid using sample products at any retail location. Many individuals apply these cosmetics directly on their face, increasing the risk of spreading bacteria.

Questions?

If you suffer from eye irritation, discuss the problem with your eye doctor right away. Your physician can treat your eye condition as well as share additional ways to prevent future eye infections.

Resources:

http://www.eyehealthweb.com/eye-infections/

http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=724

Exclusive Offer

New patients receive 15% OFF* first visit.

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:30 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Announcements

  • "Resler-Kerber #1!

    Thank you North County for voting
    Resler-Kerber Optometry, Inc. #1"

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • Nystagmus

    Nystagmus is a vision condition characterized by repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements. These involuntary eye movements may be side-to-side, up and down, or in a circular pattern, which hinders the eyes’ ability to focus on a steady object. Individuals with nystagmus may hold their heads in unusual ...

    Read More
  • Macular Hole

    The condition known as a macular hole refers to a tiny break in the macula that results in blurry or distorted vision. To fully understand the condition, one must understand eye anatomy. The macula is a spot located in the center of the retina (the back portion of the eye). Located where light comes ...

    Read More
  • How It Helps

    The goal of vision therapy is to treat vision problems that cannot be fully addressed through eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. For example, studies show that vision therapy may be beneficial for addressing eyestrain and other issues that can affect a child’s reading abilities. The human brain ...

    Read More
  • How It Works

    Vision therapy, also referred to as vision training, neuro-vision therapy, or vision rehabilitation, is an optometry subspecialty. Vision therapy is prescribed to develop, improve and/or enhance visual function so an individual’s vision system functions more smoothly. Vision therapy can be beneficial ...

    Read More
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    One of the leading causes of vision loss in people who are age 50 or older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common eye condition leads to damage of a small spot near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula provides us with the ability to clearly see objects that are straight ...

    Read More
  • Signs and Symptoms Checklist

    Vision therapy, which is also known as vision training or visual training, is an individualized treatment program that can help identify and correct perceptual-cognitive deficiencies that are impacting visual learning, focus, and concentration. Vision Therapy for Children: Checklist While individuals ...

    Read More
  • Pediatric Ophthlamology

    Ophthalmology addresses the physiology, anatomy and diseases of the eyes. Pediatric ophthalmology focuses on the eyes of children. Pediatric ophthalmologists examine children’s eyes to see if they need corrective lenses or other treatments to improve their vision. Training for Pediatric Ophthalmologists Pediatric ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    Somewhere around the age of 40, most people’s eyes lose the ability to focus on close-up objects. This condition is called presbyopia. You may start holding reading material farther away, because it is blurry up close. Reading suddenly gives you eyestrain. You might wonder when manufacturers started ...

    Read More
  • Myopia

    Myopia, or nearsightedness, means that your eyes can see close objects clearly but struggle to see things in the distance. Nearly 30 percent of Americans are nearsighted. This condition usually develops in children and teenagers, up to about the age of 20. A teacher or parent might notice a child squinting ...

    Read More
  • Diabetic Eye Diseases

    Diabetes is a condition that involves high blood sugar (glucose) levels. This can affect many parts of the body, including the eyes. One of the most common diabetic eye diseases is diabetic retinopathy, which is also a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles