What is Ophthalmia?

Ophthalmia is an inflammation of the eye, usually caused by infection or injury. It can affect the conjunctiva, cornea, or other parts of the eye. Symptoms may include redness, itching, pain, and discharge from the affected eye. Treatment depends on the type and cause of ophthalmia, and may include antibiotics, eye drops, or surgery.

Types of Ophthalmia

Ophthalmia can be divided into two main groups:

  • Infective ophthalmia: This type of ophthalmia is caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Examples include bacterial conjunctivitis, keratitis, and herpes simplex virus.
  • Traumatic ophthalmia: This type of ophthalmia is caused by an injury to the eye. Examples include chemical burns, abrasions, and foreign body injuries.

Causes of Ophthalmia

Infective ophthalmia is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Common causes of bacterial ophthalmia include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Viral ophthalmia may be caused by the herpes simplex virus or other viruses such as the varicella-zoster virus, adenoviruses, and mumps virus. Fungal ophthalmia is usually caused by species of Aspergillus, Candida, or Fusarium.

Symptoms of Ophthalmia

The symptoms of ophthalmia depend on the type and cause. Common symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Itching or burning sensation in the eye
  • Tearing or discharge from the eye
  • Pain in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light

Treatment of Ophthalmia

Treatment for ophthalmia depends on the type and cause. Infective ophthalmia is usually treated with antibiotics, antiviral medications, antifungal medications, or steroid eye drops. Traumatic ophthalmia may require surgery or wound care. In both cases, self-care measures such as cleansing the eye and applying a cold compress may help relieve symptoms.

Complications of Ophthalmia

Without treatment, ophthalmia can lead to further complications, which can include corneal ulcers, infection of the eyelids, and vision loss. It is important to seek prompt medical attention if you experience any symptoms of ophthalmia.