Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that is a part of the normal skin flora in humans. These microorganisms reside in the human skin without causing health problems until they overgrow, which leads to various infections.
Staphylococcus aureus is known for causing a wide range of diseases, from mild ones, like easily treated skin infections, to life threatening ones, like bacterial meningitis, septicemia and endocarditis. This bacteria can also infect the eyes, and if a staph eye infection remains untreated, it can seriously damage the vision.
Types of staph infections in the eye
Styes are a common and easily treated infections of the eye caused by Staphylococcus. The bacteria affects the glands in the lower or upper eyelid, leading to the formation of one or more boils filled with pus. This causes itching, swelling, pain and watery eyes.
Dacryocystitis is another infection of the tear glands, but it affects the glands in the corner of the eye, where a red or yellow bumpy mass develops, causing pain and discomfort. This is basically a clogged tear duct that needs to be drained.
Periorbital cellulitis affects the eyelids. The bacteria causes inflammation inside and around the eyelids, as well as in the area around the eyes. The skin becomes raised and bright red.
Orbital cellulitis is a severe form of periorbital cellulitis. The eye and the whole area around it becomes red and swollen, and the eye movement is limited. This condition is often accompanied by fever.
Endogenous endopthalmitis is rare but equally dangerous as other staph infections. It affects the white portion of the eye and if left untreated, can lead to partial or complete blindness. The whole eye becomes red, swollen and raised, and requires immediate medical attention.
Blebs are large, purple or red blisters that form around the eye or on the eyelids. They are often a result of an injury or a cut, they are painful to the touch and filled with liquid.
Treatment and prevention for staph infections in the eye
The treatment for staph infections of the eye consists of a combination of different treatment methods, usually application of warm compresses, topical antibiotics and steroid ointments.
Staph infections can be prevented by taking proper care of personal hygiene. The eyes should never be touched with unclean hands. If spending time in unsanitary conditions, an antiseptic product should always be at hand. If the eye suffers an injury or an open wound, it should be carefully disinfected and proper measures should be taken to prevent an infection.
Staph infections of the eye can be treated very efficiently and successfully if they are diagnosed early, before they progress and spread. This is why it is important to see a doctor whenever there is a problem involving the eyes.