Harmful microorganisms are around us every day. When bacteria, fungi, or viruses come in contact with the tissues around the eye, an infection can develop. Symptoms are varied and can include redness, pain, dry eyes, discharge, itching, burning, and more.
Though it is impossible to prevent infections altogether, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce the possibility. Here, McAllen, TX, ophthalmologist Raul Peña explains how to reduce the risk of eye infection and offers seven eye care tips to help keep your eyes healthy for the long haul.
#1: Wash Your Hands Often
We already know that washing the hands often is a good rule of thumb. But doing so before touching your eyes is imperative. Before you administer eye drops, put in contacts, or wash your face, clean your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water.
Bring the soap to a full lather and be sure to scrub between your fingers and on the backs of your hands. When done properly, handwashing should take between 30 and 60 seconds.
#2: Do Not Share Cosmetics
Sharing personal care items is a primary cause of eye infections. Patients should never share cosmetics, eye drops, or other eye products.
Should you develop an eye infection, be sure to throw out any eye products or cosmetics that you were using when the infection developed. This will reduce the risk of recontamination.
#3: Avoid Touching Your Eyes
Touching the eyes is a common habit, and one that is often subconscious. Keep in mind, however, that your hands come in contact with germs on a consistent basis. Before you touch your eyes for any reason, wash them thoroughly.
#4: Do Not Share Your Towels
Sharing towels and bedding can spread bacteria. Be sure to wash these items frequently in hot water and avoid sharing them with others.
#5: Remove Eye Makeup Every Night
If eye makeup is not removed before bed, it increases the risk of eye infections and blepharitis, inflammation of the eyelids. This condition can lead to itchiness, redness, and blurry vision. Make sure you remove your eye makeup before turning in for the night.
#6: Keep Your Glasses Clean
Even though your glasses do not come in direct contact with your eyes, they can still be a source of bacteria. Many individuals touch their glasses often throughout the day, and germs from the hands easily transfer. Disinfect your glasses every day and clean them with a soft, lint-free cloth.
#7: Clean Your Contact Lenses Properly
If you wear contact lenses, cleaning them properly is essential to avoid infections. Contact lens wearers are already more prone to infections, so diligent hygiene is of the utmost importance. Ask our McAllen team for recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting your contact lenses.
Contact Our Practice to Learn More
If you have questions about preventing eye infections, or about eye health in general, reach out to one of our skilled and knowledgeable team members. To schedule a consultation at our McAllen practice, contact us online or give us a call at (956) 661-U-SEE.