What is a Corneal Infection?

A Corneal Infection is an infection in the eye’s cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. Our eyes have several protective barriers and mechanisms which help resist infections in the cornea. Eye lids, eye lashes, tears, and the mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids, all form barriers against Corneal Infection. When any of these protective barriers are broken, either by a trauma, a foreign object in the eye, a contaminated contact lens, severe allergies, or an illness/inflammatory disorder, germs can pass directly into the cornea, resulting in a Corneal Infection.

What causes a Corneal Infection?

Corneal infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses. These infections can reduce visual clarity, produce corneal discharges, and perhaps erode the cornea. Corneal infections can also lead to corneal scarring, which can impair vision.

Symptoms of Corneal Infection

Common symptoms of a Corneal Infection may include:

  • eye pain
  • redness
  • burning
  • itching
  • watery eyes
  • discharge
  • sensitivity to light
  • a white patch on the cornea
  • impaired vision

As a general rule, the deeper the corneal infection, the more severe the symptoms and complications tend to be. It should be noted that corneal infections, although relatively infrequent, are the most serious complication of contact lens wear.

How are Corneal Infections treated?

If you suspect you have a Cornea Infection, see your ophthalmologist or optometrist immediately. Early treatment is key to preventing serious problems such as vision loss and corneal scars and even loss of your eye. The treatment will depend on the cause of the infection. Minor Corneal Infections are commonly treated with anti-bacterial drops. More severe infections may require more intensive antibiotics, anti-fungal treatments, anti-viral drops, or steroid drops. Treatment should be started right away. Frequent visits to an eye care professional may be necessary to make sure the treatment is performing effectively.