Eye infections are usually caused by viruses or bacteria. Common causes may be trauma, eye surgery, wearing contact lenses, or diseases that leave the body vulnerable to bacteria or viral infection. One of the most widespread types of eye infections is conjunctivitis (pink eye), which can easily be spread by contact. Blepharitis and styes are also common and tend to result in swollen, infected eyelids. While such infections may, if severe, require a trip to the doctor, there are a number of methods you can use at home to treat the symptoms.
Things You'll Need
- Baby shampoo
Apply a warm compress several times a day. You can use this by running hot water over a clean, folded washcloth, then squeezing the water out (at which point it should have cooled enough down from hot to just warm) and applying it with gentle pressure to the infected eye. Warm, moist teabags are also very good, as they make perfect, eye-sized compresses (and you can use them after you've already made tea from them).
Wash your eyelid gently with baby shampoo. Make sure you get a tear-free formula (as most baby shampoos should be) with no added perfumes or dyes.
Avoid rubbing your eyes as this can spread infection. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day.
Do not wear any type of eye makeup or contact lenses while the infection lasts as these can aggravate the irritation. Throw away any eye makeup you may have used just before the infection began, as it may be contaminated and you do not want to re-infect yourself later by using contaminated mascara. If you have disposable lenses, be sure to use a new pair once the infection clears up. If yours are not disposable, be sure to clean them thoroughly (using both heat and enzymatic methods).
Try over-the-counter eyedrops to see if they help soothe the itching and discomfort. If they do not work, you can see your eye doctor for a topical ointment or prescription eyedrops.
Tips & Warnings
- Never share eye makeup or contact lens solutions or equipment, as you don't want to pick up an infection from anyone else
- Do not share linens, pillows, towels or handkerchiefs
- Change linens and towels on a regular basis (daily during the course of the infection).
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