FUNGAL EYE INFECTIONS

Fungal eye infections are very uncommon, yet they may be severe, leading to lasting visual problems, including blindness. An eye injury is the most common cause of a fungal eye infection, particularly if the harm was inflicted by plant material such as a thorn. Several microbes, including bacteria, viruses, amoeba, and fungi, may cause eye infections.

Fungi of several sorts may enter the eye and produce an infection. Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Candida are examples of fungi that can cause an infection. The fungus usually enters the eye through an injury, such as unintentionally scratching the eye with a tree branch. In exceptional cases, a person’s body may acquire a fungal infection that extends to their eyes.

TYPES

Different regions of the eye might be affected by fungal infections. The following are the many forms of infections

  • Keratitis is an inflammation of the eye’s transparent front layer (the cornea).
  • Endophthalmitis is an infection of the vitreous and/or aqueous humors of the eye. Endophthalmitis is classified into two types:
  • Endogenous endophthalmitis is caused by the spread of a systemic infection (such as candidemia) to one or both eyes.
  • Exogenous fungal endophthalmitis develops when fungal spores enter the eye from outside sources. 

SYMPTOMS

In some circumstances, signs of a fungal eye infection may appear shortly after exposure to fungus, while in others, it may take several weeks for symptoms to manifest.

Symptoms resemble those of bacterial infections and other forms of eye infections. Among the possible symptoms of a fungal eye infection are:

  • Eye discomfort that may become acute
  • Eye redness
  • Extreme tearing
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • impaired vision

If you experience signs of an eye infection, you should see a doctor immediately. Regardless of the kind of illness, an accurate diagnosis is essential.

DIAGNOSIS

Your eye specialist will inspect your eye and may remove a tiny sample of tissue or fluid from your eye to identify a fungal eye infection. In a lab, the specimen will be examined under a microscope or cultivated. Confocal microscopy and Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are also used as modern, faster methods of diagnosis; nonetheless, culture remains the gold standard for diagnosing a fungal eye infection.

TREATMENT

In general, therapy for fungal eye infection is determined by the kind of fungus, its severity, and the afflicted parts of the eye.

Treatment options for fungal eye infections include:

  • Antifungal eye drops
  • Antifungal medicine used orally or intravenously
  • Injection of an antifungal drug directly into the eye
  • Eye surgery

Patients with serious infections who do not improve after treatment may need surgery, such as corneal transplantation, removal of the vitreous gel from the internal part of the eye, or, in more severe situations, removal of one eye.

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