Urgent Care for Eye Infections
The eyes seem like simple organs, but they are made up of nerves, blood vessels, and other parts that need to work properly for you to see. It is possible for these organs to become infected with bacteria, fungi, or viruses. If you have any of the symptoms of eye infection or other eye problems, visit our urgent care center. One of our friendly medical professionals will examine you and determine the best course of action.
Signs and Symptoms of Eye Infections
Eye infections can cause a wide range of symptoms, so pay attention to anything that seems unusual for you. The most common sign of an eye infection is pain. The pain can be intense or mild, and it can either come and go or be dull but constant. Also, pain is often aggravated by certain things, such as bright lights, touch or wind. You may also experience frequent tearing and visual disturbances, or evidence of an infection could turn up during test such as DOT physicals. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit our urgent care center immediately. Untreated eye infections can lead to permanent vision loss, so time is of the essence.
Another common sign of an eye infection is a feeling of “fullness” in the eye, as if something is putting pressure on it. Some people experience “foreign body sensation” or the feeling that something is caught in your eye, like a dust particle.
Other signs that could indicate an infection:
- Discharge from the eye, especially if green or yellowish
- Fever that seems to have no other cause
- Blurred vision
- Eyes that tear eye or water non-stop for no reason
Although you might be tempted to just reach for some eye drops, the truth is that medical treatment of eye infections is needed. At a minimum, you should see a provider to get prescription eye drops.
If you are unsure whether you need to see a provider, pay attention at your symptoms. Pain combined with any other serious complaint, such as vision problems or discharge, merits a call to your provider. Our providers at Physicians Now Urgent Care Center in Rockville, MD can evaluate your problem and then help you by prescribing the right course of treatment for your symptoms.
Before your provider can recommend treatment, he will need to determine the cause of your eye infection. A common cause of eye infections is conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Often seen in children, pink eye can also affect adults and is highly contagious.
Another common type of infection is viral keratitis, caused by the Herpes simplex virus. You could also have sustained a minor injury to the eye, which could cause swelling and discomfort.
You could also have a fungal eye infection, or suffer from a parasite infection known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. This is common among people who wear contact lenses and can become very serious, affecting your sight permanently.
Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye infections. It is highly contagious, so it can spread quickly. The treatment for pink eye depends on its cause. When caused by eye irritants, washing the eye with water may be enough to clear up the problem. Bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with antibiotics. These medications are available in pill, ointment, and eye drop form. Viral infections usually last up to one week. They cannot be treated with antibiotics because they are caused by viruses, not bacteria. While the infection runs its course, wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with other people.
The signs of an eye infection are not always clear. In fact, you might have an eye infection and not even know it, thinking it’s just itchiness or irritation bothering you. Eye infections can cause problems in the long run if left untreated, so it’s important that you see a provider as soon as possible if you suspect a problem. If you aren’t sure whether you have a simple case of inflammation or are battling an infection, stop by our urgent care in Rockville, MD office to talk to one of our specialists.
Treatment for Eye Infections
The most common type of treatment for eye infections is prescription antibiotic eye drops. If the infection is viral, your provider might prescribe antiviral eye drops. In some cases, you might need to use steroid eye drops. This is especially important if the infection has reached the deeper layers of your cornea. The steroid helps with pain management as well as fighting the inflammation and speeding up healing. However, steroid drops can be dangerous if not used properly, so you should only use them as directed by your provider.
Eye infections take time to heal. Depending on how deep they are, you might need to apply drops several times a day for up to two months.
In the case of serious infections, you might need a combination of eye drops, compressions and creams. If you are experiencing pain, compresses (either hot or cold) can help alleviate the discomfort and sometimes ease inflammation. Because you will need to do this regularly throughout the day, you might need to take time off work.
If you wear contact lenses, switching to glasses until the infection clears up might also become necessary. Contact lenses can irritate the cornea and make healing more difficult.