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What is Fungal Eye Infection?

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Fungal eye infection is known as fungal keratitis. It is an inflammation of the cornea that is caused by a fungal organism. There are more than 70 different types of fungus that can cause this type of eye infection. It requires immediate treatment by an eye care professional.

What are the Symptoms of Fungal Eye Infection?

The symptoms of fungal keratitis include blurring of vision and red and painful eyes that do not feel more at ease even when contact lenses are taken out. It may also cause a hyper-sensitivity to light and weeping or sticky eyes.

Diagnosis of Fungal Eye Infection

For an accurate diagnosis you will need to visit and optometrist or ophthalmologist. After examining your eyes, the eye care professional will be able to determine if you have a fungal eye infection. Sometimes a fungal infection may be misdiagnosed as a bacterial ulcer. This is because the symptoms are very similar. A true diagnosis will often require a culture from a corneal scraping. The results can take up to a week to come back but will provide a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment and Management of Fungal Eye Infection

Fungal keratitis can often take a considerable time to heal. Sometimes the infection may extend from the organism to the other structures of the eye such as the sclera (the outer covering of the eyeball). In these cases the fungus may cause a very severe infection and are often difficult to treat. If left untreated they can lead to loss of vision and in severe cases even loss of the eye.

Risk Factors for Treatments and Management of Fungal Eye Infection

  • Risk factors include;
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Contact lenses
  • Use of topical corticosteroids
  • Herpes simplex
  • Vernal keratoconjunctivitis
  • Corneal surgery
  • Cataract surgery
  • LASIK surgery
  • An occupation in agriculture
  • Previous history of eye trauma

Treatment for fungal keratitis is an anti-fungal solution that is dropped into the eyes. Its name is natamycin. Contact lenses should not be worn during a fungal eye infection.

Though uncommon, fungal infections of the eye can be dangerous and may lead to loss of vision. If you think you may have a fungal eye infection, seek the advice of an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

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