A person with a fungal eye infection usually experiences blurred vision, redness, and pain. Fungal eye infections may also cause light sensitivity and watery eyes. The symptoms of a fungal eye infection are often consistent with other eye problems, such as pink eye and bacterial eye infections. Fungal eye infections often cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone because of these similarities. A person who is experiencing extreme eye irritation, particularly if he wears contact lenses, should see his eye doctor right away to either confirm or rule out the presence of a fungal infection.
Anyone can develop a fungal eye infection, but people who wear contacts may have a higher risk of it than people who do not. This is because the environment inside contact lens cases holding contact solution is often favorable for fungus to grow, particularly if the lens case is not kept clean. Some research additionally suggests that wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time without daily removal and cleaning might also increase the risk of developing a fungal eye infection. People who have had any type of eye surgery or eye injury also tend to have a slightly higher risk of developing eye fungus than others.
An eye doctor may attempt to diagnose a fungal eye infection based on a person's symptoms or by scraping the surface of her cornea for a sample specimen. This sample is then examined in a laboratory for the presence of fungus. Once the presence of eye fungus is confirmed, anti-fungal eye drops may be prescribed to treat the infection. If the patient wears contacts, she will typically be advised to refrain from wearing them until the infection has cleared up. It is of the utmost importance that a person who suspects she may have a fungal eye infection have her symptoms evaluated right away, because fungus in the eyes left untreated could lead to vision loss.
There are some things that can be done to prevent fungal eye infections from occurring. Proper sanitation of contact lenses and the cases that hold them is recommended, as well as hand washing before contact lens insertion and removal. Many people are additionally advised to avoid touching their eyes with their hands when possible, because germs and fungus that cause infections often start off on the hands and travel to the eyes through rubbing or scratching. Regular eye exams are also recommended so that any eye problems can be caught early and dealt with quickly before they get a chance to become serious.