Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do eye infection evaluations ever involve antibiotics?"
I have an eye infection. I am a 28 year old swimmer and would rather not take antibiotics. What can I do?
Eye infections are quite common, affecting both children and adults. Some viruses can cause infections in the eye, and these typically clear on their own with only supportive care. However, if you have a bacterial infection in the eye you will likely need antibiotic eye drops to help clear the infection. It is very important that you follow up with your physician about the treatment of your eye infection, because untreated infections can lead to long-term problems with vision. Some eye infections are treated by primary care physicians, as a minor infection in an otherwise healthy eye may only require eye drops. The difficulty with ocular infections, however, is that depending on the mechanism through which a patient acquires one, additional action may be required, including follow up with an eye specialist. People who wear contacts can be more susceptible to infections with more virulent bacteria that may require additional treatment. Furthermore, an otherwise mild eye infection can become quite serious if the cornea become scratched because this can allow for additional scarring of the eye. Overall, it can be frustrating to have a medical illness interfere with the activities of your daily life, but when it comes to protecting your vision, you can't be too careful. Again, please discuss further with your physician.
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