Bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms can infect the eye, causing redness, blurred vision and discomfort. The infection can affect different parts of the eye, such as how conjunctivitis affects the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the eyelids) and keratitis affects the cornea (the clear covering of the eye).
Getting treatment for an eye infection is important, as an untreated infection may lead to serious complications. For example, patients with untreated cytomegalovirus retinitis can become blind.
The treatment a patient receives for an eye infection will depend on the cause. For example, a bacterial eye infection can be treated with antibiotics. If the cause is viral, it will go away on its own, according to MedlinePlus.
With allergic conjunctivitis, allergy medications may alleviate treatment. While warm compresses will not treat the eye infection, they can soothe discomfort caused by either bacterial conjunctivitis or viral conjunctivitis.
When making warm compresses, patients should use clean cloths and soak them in warm water. The compress should be applied when the patient’s eyes are closed.
In cases in which the infection was caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, such as blepharitis, proper cleaning of the eyelid can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the condition from occurring. MedlinePlus noted that this involves carefully cleaning the edges of the eyelids, which should occur daily. Patients may use special cleansers or baby shampoo.
Doctors may prescribe eye drops as part of the eye infection treatment. When using eye drops, patients must first clean their hands with soap and water.
To use the drops, patients should tilt their heads back and using their index finger, pull down their eye’s lower lid.