Eye infections are usually distinguished by red or inflamed eyes. Most cases of bacterial conjunctivitis are caused by the presence of a germ, commonly found in coughs and colds.
- Often caused by bacteria
- Identified by red or pink eyes
- Treated with eye drops
Please note that we do not offer treatments for eye infections through our online service. If you think you might have an eye infection, see your GP.
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Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common type of eye infection. It occurs when certain strains of bacteria invade the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane which covers the white of the eyes. The presence of bacteria makes the conjunctiva inflamed and appear red or pink. The eyes can feel gritty, uncomfortable and produce a sticky discharge that lines the eyelashes, often found in the morning. The irritation may cause the eyes to become sore or itchy.
The bacteria that causes conjunctivitis is often the same as that found in common coughs and colds. The infection is not usually serious but it is highly contagious. Therefore, good hygiene practices are important as they can help limit the spread of infection. For instance, you should ensure that you wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing any towels or pillows.
The infection is quite common and can affect anyone. There are certain groups of people who can be more vulnerable to eye infections due to their circumstances or predetermined illnesses. These include children, the elderly, those with diabetes, blepharitis, those who have recently contracted an upper respiratory tract infection or those taking corticosteroids.
Less severe eye infections can resolve on their own but antibiotic treatment can be used to quickly and successfully send the symptoms into remission. The infection does not normally cause any lasting health problems but it can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.
A doctor may issue antibiotic eye drops to treat bacterial eye infections. Examples of these sorts of medicine include Azyter, Chloramphenicol or Fucithalmic.
Upon application, antibiotic eye drops work to stop the bacterial cells from creating a vital protein used in their reproduction. Once the germ cells are lacking in this protein, the body’s natural immune system is given the opportunity to infiltrate the bacterial cells and kill them off.
We do not provide treatment for eye infections. If you think you have an eye infection, you should see your GP in person so that you can have your symptoms examined.
Types of Treatment
Bacterial infective conjunctivitis can be combated with antibiotics.
Examples of antibiotic eye drops include Azyter, Fucithalmic and Chloramphenicol.
How do they work?
Antibiotic eye drops work by killing the bacteria causing the infection. The agent stops the bacteria from producing an essential protein which is used in their reproduction. Without the protein the bacteria becomes susceptible to the body’s natural defence system, allowing it to kill the germ cells.
What are the side effects?
All medications come with potential side effects. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the details outlined in the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment. Should you experience any side effects when using this product, seek medical advice immediately. Commonly experienced reactions include an itching or burning sensation; blurred vision; sticky eye or a feeling that there is something in your eye.
Can I take them with other medications?
It is important that you fully disclose any other treatments you are currently taking or have recently taken during consultation with your GP.
What’s the difference between the medications?
The main difference between the eye drops discussed is that they contain different active ingredients. However, they all perform largely the same function, which is to prevent the bacteria responsible for infection from spreading. The medication used will depend on the type of bacteria causing infection, and which drug you are most suited to.
Should I take antibiotic eye drops?
If you think you have an eye infection, make an appointment with your doctor in person. They will be able to evaluate your symptoms and issue treatment if appropriate.
Are there different side effects?
Yes. Not everyone will experience side effects when using this product. However, it is important to be aware of them. The most frequently reported side effects include an itching or stinging sensation upon application and feeling as though there is something in your eye.
Is it right for me?
See a doctor in person if you are experiencing symptoms of an eye infection.
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