Eye care practitioners can choose from an impressive and effective armamentarium of drugs to combat infectious diseases that are caused by bacteria. In most cases, a combination steroid-antibiotic agent is the best choice to address both the infection (or the threat of infection) and the inflammation that results from bacterial inhabitation. High-dose, potent antibiotic therapy should be reserved only for those serious infectious cases where the cornea is truly threatened and should never be used injudiciously because of the evergrowing risk of antibiotic-resistant organisms.
Author: Andrew A Dahl, MD, Consulting Staff, Department of Ophthalmology, Vassar Brothers Hospital.
Coauthor(s): Jay Robert Woody, MD, Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas, Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Parkland Memorial Hospital; Trevor Mills, MD, Co-Program Director, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Section of Emergency Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans.
Editors: Richard W Allinson, MD, Associate Professor, Division of Ophthalmology, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Scott and White Clinic; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Robert H Graham, MD, Ophthalmologist, Robert H Graham, MD, PC; Affiliated With Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona and Carl T Hayden VA Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona.
Many corneal diseases are preventable by reducing risk factors. For example, maintaining optimal eye health (with good hygiene and regular vaccinations ) is the best prevention against many infectious diseases. For example, there are vaccines available to reduce the severity and frequency of shingles , which can result in an eye herpes infection called herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Contact lens wear can make individuals especially susceptible to serious corneal infections, so people should clean contact lenses as directed. Glasses and sunglasses with 100% ultraviolet block can protect against growths that are associated with sun exposure, such as pterygium, and eye surface cancers. Safety glasses should be worn when warranted to prevent trauma. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and sufficient vitamin A may help maintain a healthy tear film, thus minimizing dry eye symptoms. Reviewing one's family's ocular health history is helpful in looking for hereditary conditions. Regular eye examinations are important for detecting eye diseases at their earliest stages.