ALERT

We are experiencing high call volumes in response to expanded COVID vaccination scheduling. Vaccine supplies in Idaho are limited. Please do not call St. Luke’s clinics directly regarding COVID-19 vaccination. Appointments are made through myChart as vaccine is available; we are not able to accommodate walk-ins. Unless you need to call for an emergency, you are encouraged to use myChart for questions and appointments at this time. Find additional information here.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Signs of an Eye Infection

Signs of an Eye Infection

Topic Overview

Signs of an eye infection may include:

  • Pain in the eye.
  • A feeling that something is in the eye (foreign body sensation).
  • Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia).
  • Yellow, green, bloody, or watery discharge from the eye.
  • Increasing redness of the eye or eyelids.
  • A gray or white sore on the colored part of the eye (iris).
  • Fever with no other cause.
  • Blurred or decreased vision.

Your eyes may often water or tear. You may notice a small amount of white or creamy drainage at times. If you have no pain or other symptoms, home treatment is usually all that is needed. More serious infections affect the entire eye area (periorbital cellulitis) or the lacrimal sacs ( dacryocystitis ). Any signs of infection along with a change in your vision or other symptoms need to be evaluated by a doctor.

Infection can develop in the eye from irritation, such as getting a small amount of a chemical in the eye. Infection can also occur after a minor eye injury or a small scratch on the cornea. If untreated, some types of eye infections can damage the eye very quickly.

Infections can be more severe in people who wear contact lenses. If you think you may have an eye infection, remove your contacts and wear your glasses.

Herpes zoster ophthalmicus ( shingles ) affects the nerves of the eye and can cause symptoms, such as swelling, pain, and drainage, similar to an eye infection.

If the eye has been injured—scratched, cut, punctured, or burned—a current tetanus shot is recommended.

Credits

Current as of: December 18, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Healthwise is a URAC accredited health web site content provider. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.