Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Eye Infections

Bacteria, viruses or fungi that are present elsewhere on the body or picked up from another person who is infected cause eye infections. They can be highly contagious, so it’s important to take precautions to avoid catching eye infections. You may be more susceptible to an eye infection if you:

  • Wear contact lenses
  • Scratch or injure your cornea
  • Have had eye surgery
  • Work with chemicals and don’t wear eye protection
  • Have eye irritation from allergies or other substances
  • Have a sexually transmitted disease

Diagnosing eye infections

Your physician can diagnose eye infections with an eye exam that may include:

  • Visual acuity test: This common eye chart test measures vision ability at various distances using a series of lenses.
  • Pupil dilation: The pupil is widened with eye drops to allow a close-up examination of the eye's lens and retina.
  • Lab tests: In some instances, discharge from your eye can be cultured to determine the exact agent that’s causing the infection.