At one time or another almost all of us has experienced red, itchy, runny or sticky eyes and have wondered whether it’s a symptom of allergies or dry eyes or a more serious condition, such as an eye infection. To help you be a more knowledgeable participant in your care we have provided some useful facts and information.

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About Allergies & Dry Eyes

Symptoms of Allergies or Dry Eyes

  • If you work at a computer for an extended time or have allergies to products or airborne substances, you may experience dry, red or irritated eyes.
  • Generally allergies and dry eyes affects both eyes.
  • Treatment options usually include resting your eyes or using an over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, as recommended by your eye doctor.

About Eye Infections

Symptoms of Eye Infections

  • Frequently occurs when bacteria, fungi or viruses attack any part of your eye, including the surface, membrane lining of the outer eye and inner eyelid, interior portions or the soft tissue of the eyelid.
  • Infections inside the eye or in the soft tissue of the eyelid are the most dangerous and if left untreated, the condition may spread throughout the eye.
  • Symptoms usually include redness, pain, discharge, watering and sensitivity to light; usually occurs only in one eye; if symptoms are detected, immediately contact your eye doctor for an evaluation

Types of Eye Infections

  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)-A common infection that is highly contagious.
  • Viral Keratitis-Can be simply related to a respiratory virus or cold or more serious such as Ocular Herpes that occurs when exposed to the Herpes Simplex Virus.
  • Fungal Keratitis-A fungus commonly found in organic matter such as soil, leaves or branches of a tree.
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis-A parasite that attacks the eye more often in individuals wearing contact lenses and swimming in pools, lakes, ponds, hot tubs or streams who are at increased risk for contracting this infection.
  • Trachoma-Usually found in underdeveloped countries. Typically infects the inner eyelid along with eyelashes touching the area can infect the cornea and cause permanent blindness.
  • Endophthalmitis-Occurs with a penetrating eye injury or complication following eye surgery and if left untreated, may lead to blindness.

Preventing Eye Infections

  • If you experience symptoms associated with an eye infection, contact The Eye Clinic of Texas immediately. Prompt treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of permanent blindness.
  • To avoid eye infections, wash your hands throughout the day, especially if you are near an individual with a red eye or other signs of infection. Contact lens wearers should follow care and handling instructions provided by their eye doctor.

If you or someone you know is concerned about having an eye infections please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

“Patients should be aware that there are a number of eye problems and infections that can occur from using certain acne medications,” said Dr. Da-Thuy Van, an Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Houston & Galveston. “If you are using medication for acne and experience any of these problems you need to come in for an eye exam and tell us so we can help.” What do eye infections and acne medication have to do with each other? Recently, a study on eye infections and acne medication was presented in Archives of Dermatology  where researchers collected data on nearly 15,000 teens and young adults taking isotretinoin to treat acne and compared their rates of eye infections to group that had acne but not taking the drugs and to a third group that didn’t take the drugs and didn’t have acne. Isotretinoin is also sold under the brand names Roaccutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan and Sotret.

Within a year of starting the medication, nearly 14 percent of those in the acne medication group developed an eye infection or dry eyes, compared with almost 10 percent in the group that had acne but did not take the medications and about 7 percent in the group that didn’t have acne. Compared to the acne-free group, those taking isotretinoin were at 70 percent increased risk of an eye infection over the course of a year. The mean age of participants was about 16.5 years old.

“The most common problem was conjunctivitis, an inflammation or infection of the membrane lining the eye and eyelids. Other problems included hordeolum or stye which is an inflamed oil gland on the edge of the eyelid, chalazion which is a tender, swollen lump in the eyelid due to a blocked oil gland, blepharitis-an inflammation of the eyelash follicles and dry eyes,” further explained Dr. Van.

Isotretinoin treats acne by reducing oil production from the sebaceous glands, among other effects. But isotretinoin also disrupts function of the meibomian glands, or oil glands inside the eyelids. The meibomian glands help keep the eyes lubricated. Less lubrication may mean the eyes are irritated, itching and burning, prompting people to rub them and introduce bacteria. “The good news is that most side effects of the drugs can be prevented using artificial tears to keep the eyes lubricated,” said Dr. Van.

If you or someone you know has a question about acne medication, eye infections or eye problems such as dry eyes, stye, chalazion or blepharitis please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.