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There are many infections that can affect human eyes. Basically any infectious agent can cause an infectious eye disease, but some, like conjunctivitis, are more common than others. In order to successfully treat an eye infection, it is necessary to determine its exact cause.

Basing on the cause of the infection, eye infections can be classified into several types.

Types of eye infections in adults

Eye infections in adults can be classified according to their cause. Depending on the cause, these infections can be viral, bacterial and fungal.

Many of the common eye infections in adults are viral- caued by viruses. Conjunctivitis or pink eye, which is by far the most common eye infection in the world, can be caused by a virus or by bacteria, and, less commonly, by a fungus.

Viral conjunctivitis, which is contagious and easily passed from one person to another, is caused by adenovirus. It is not a dangerous eye disease and it goes away soon without any specific treatment.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is more typical for children than for adults and it tends to last longer than the viral type of this eye infection. Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually caused by streptococcal bacteria.

Other viral eye infections in adults include hepatitis B, herpes simplex, which usually causes cold sores but can also affect the eye, influenza, shingles, which is the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, mononucleosis and several other, less common viruses.

Bacterial infections of the eye include streptococcus or staphylococcus infections, sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, bacterial keratitis, leprosy, tuberculosis and others.

Mycosis is a general term for fungal infections and when it affects the eyes it is usually caused by Candida albicans, but there are over 60 different fungus types that can cause eye infections.

Some of the parasitical eye infections include acanthamoeba, toxoplasmosis and crab lice.


Just like any other disease, eye infections are treated according to their exact cause. Viral eye infections are generally not treated with medications and home remedies are used instead, to speed up the recovery. For viral infections such as herpes, certain measures are required to prevent future flare-ups.

Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, depending on the specific bacterial type. In many cases topical medications in form of eye drops or ointments are sufficient, but in more severe infections it may be required to take oral antibiotics as well.

Many fungal and parasitical infections also go away on their own without any particular treatment.

For severe diseases, such as tuberculosis, syphilis, toxoplasmosis and such, the body needs to be treated as a whole in order for all the parts to get better, including eye problems.

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