8 Tips for Avoiding Eye Infections
Healthy vision is critical to practically everything we do, which is why getting an eye infection is so detrimental to our well-being.
An eye infection occurs when harmful bacteria comes into contact with the tissue around the eye. Some infections affect the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye, while others affect the conjunctiva, which is the thin, moist membrane lining your outer eye and inner eyelid.
Depending on the nature of the infection, it can lead to symptoms like:
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to avoid getting eye infections such as viral conjunctivitis (pink eye), bacterial blepharitis, and ocular herpes. This month’s Uptown Eye Specialists blog shares eight tips that can help you avoid an eye infection.
Tip #1: Refrain From Touching Your Eyes
Keep your fingers away from your eyes as much as possible, as they are a common source of germs that can lead to eye infections. If you absolutely must touch your eye area (for example, to put contacts in), wash them thoroughly with soap and water first.
Tip #2: Wash Your Hands Regularly
One of the best ways to reduce the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other touch-related contaminants is to wash your hands regularly. Using an antibacterial soap, wash them for at least 20 seconds, rinse, and then dry thoroughly before touching your eyes.
Tip #3: Protect Any Eye Injuries
When your eye’s surface is injured, it can allow entry to certain infections. For example, if you were poked in the eye by a tree branch or metal bar, you could develop an eye infection from any debris or fungi on the surface of the object. Have all eye injuries treated promptly and protect the eye from further damage.
Tip #4: Keep Contact Lenses Clean
Since contact lenses come in direct contact with the surface of your eye, it’s essential to keep them clear of contaminants. Always wash your hands with soap and water before inserting or removing your contacts and store them as directed by your eye doctor.
Tip #5: Watch Out for Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is common among young children. If you have children in school or daycare, watch out for pink eye outbreaks, and seek prompt treatment if you suspect your child has the condition, which can easily be spread to you and other family members.
Tip #6: Never Share Makeup Brushes
We rely on brushes to apply makeup flawlessly, but their constant use can lead to product buildup and worse: bacteria buildup. If you share an eyeshadow brush or sponge with a friend, it can transfer bacteria from their eye area to yours. Similarly, you should never share mascara or eyeliner either, and make sure you throw out expired products.
Tip #7: Take Off Eye Makeup Before Sleeping
If you wear eye makeup to bed, you may be at a higher risk of developing blepharitis, an inflammation with symptoms such as itchiness, redness, and blurry vision. Take a few minutes to remove mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow.
Tip #8: Avoid Exposure to Smoke
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you can develop conjunctivitis after exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke or the smoke from a wood-burning stove or fireplace. Try to avoid close contact with these irritants and get as much fresh air as possible.
Eye Infections Should Always Be Seen by a Professional
Consult your eye doctor immediately if you suspect an eye infection. If you delay treatment, you might make the duration or severity of your symptoms worse, and you may suffer lasting damage to your vision. At Uptown Eye Specialists, we care about our patients’ eye health and offer effective treatments for a variety of eye issues. To learn more, please call (416) 292-0330 or contact us online.