Itchy, swollen or red eyes: How to treat common eye infections

Eye infections are not uncommon and can usually be treated at home, so aren't a major cause for concern. However, as with all eye conditions, it's important to monitor and seek advice from your optometrist if the condition doesn't improve or starts to impact your vision.

Many people don't realise that infections can be diagnosed by an optometrist, who can also advise on the best care to treat the problem, such as prescribing medication if required or referring you to another healthcare professional if necessary. 

Common eye infections:

  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common condition that is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye and inner surfaces of the eyelid. It's characterised by pink, puffy eyes, a gritty sensation, itchiness and sticky or crusty eyelashes.
  • If you have conjunctivitis and experience eye pain, light sensitivity, disturbed vision or intense eye redness, seek advice from an optometrist, GP or ophthalmologist as this may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
  • A stye is a common condition that is caused by an infection in the glands of the eye or eyelash follicle. Symptoms include a bump on the inside, or outside, of the eye, a swollen or red eyelid and tenderness in the area. It may look worrying but is usually nothing to be concerned about, and can be treated with a hot compress. Never try to burst a stye.

Clear advice for common eye infections can be found on the Specsavers website, but if you find the problem is worsening, or that your vision is being affected, it's important to contact your local optometrist. 

Specsavers Optometrist Celeste Raisbeck explains more.

Watch the video above to learn more about it.

This article was created for Specsavers.