5 Things You Need To Know About Bacterial Endophthalmitis


Endophthalmitis is a vision-threatening eye condition characterized by inflammation of the inside of the eye. It occurs when microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, or viruses enter your eye. While all types of endophthalmitis are serious, bacterial endophthalmitis is the most severe type. Here are five things you need to know about bacterial endophthalmitis.

How do bacteria get inside your eyes?

Your eyes are closed structures, but it's still possible for dangerous bacteria to get inside. This can happen in a few different ways. The bacteria may be introduced to your eyes during intraocular surgery. For example, if you undergo surgery to fix glaucoma, cataracts, or another eye disease, bacteria could enter your eyes through the incisions.

Traumatic injuries to your eyes can also allow bacteria to get inside. For example, if you get in a serious car accident or get punched in the eye, the globe of your eye could rupture, allowing it to become contaminated.

In some cases, bacterial endophthalmitis can have an internal origin. This can occur if bacteria from other parts of your body travel through your blood vessels and make their way into your eye. Endocarditis (an infection of the lining of your heart) and gastrointestinal infections are the most common causes of this type of bacterial endophthalmitis.

What bacteria are responsible?

Many different bacterial species can lead to this infection. When the infection occurs following surgery or trauma, gram-positive bacteria like staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus pneumoniae are usually responsible. The former is one of the most common bacteria that people acquire in hospital settings, while the latter is also widespread and responsible for diseases like pneumonia.

When the infection spreads from another part of your body, it's usually caused by gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli.

What are the signs of bacterial endophthalmitis?

The symptoms of bacterial endophthalmitis vary depending on the specific bacteria involved, but most patients experience red eyes and decreased vision. A deep pain inside the eye is also a common symptom. Some people also experience symptoms like eyelid swelling or sensitivity to light.

If you notice any of these symptoms in one or both of your eyes, seek medical attention immediately. This infection progresses rapidly, so prompt treatment is essential.

What complications are associated with it?

The intraocular inflammation that is associated with bacterial endophthalmitis frequently damages the retina, specifically the photoreceptor cells. The photoreceptor cells convert the light you see into electrical signals that your brain can interpret as images. When these essential cells are damaged, you'll lose part or all of your vision.

To minimize your risk of this serious complication, seek treatment immediately for bacterial endophthalmitis.

How is it treated?

Bacterial endophthalmitis is treated with antibiotics. These antibiotics are generally given in the form of intravitreal injections, according to the American Society for Microbiology. This is because it's hard for systemic antibiotics to pass through the blood-ocular fluid barrier to get inside your eye, especially when the eye is swollen due to an infection. Injecting the antibiotics right into the vitreous ensures that the antibiotics get where they're supposed to go. 

Dexamethasone, a type of corticosteroid, may also be injected into your eye. The purpose of this medication is to decrease the inflammation inside your eye and protect your retina from damage.

If necessary, vitrectomy can be performed to get rid of the infection. During this procedure, the vitreous will be removed from inside your eye. The interior will then be debrided to get rid of bacteria, and your eye will be re-filled with saline.

If you think you have bacterial endophthalmitis, see an optometrist at a clinic like Montgomery Eye Center immediately to save your vision.


8 February 2016

Learning About Optometry Tools and Techniques

Hello, my name is Martin. Welcome to my site about optometry. I want to use this website to talk about all of the tools and techniques used to measure vision and eye health. Optometrists can accurately measure the patient's ability to see by simply performing a series of unique tests. The visions tests require the patient's participation to find the right prescription for corrective lenses. The rest of the exam is performed to check the health of the eye from the surface to the retina. I invite you to follow along and learn all you can about this interesting subject. Thanks for visiting.