Eye Diseases

Conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is a general term for infection of the membrane covering the inner eyelid and pupil of the eye. This membrane is called the conjunctiva. Bacterial conjunctivitis is also known as pinkeye. It is caused by numerous bacteria, most commonly the Gram‐negative rod Haemophilus aegyptius. The disease is characterized by red, itchy eyes with an exudate. It is highly contagious and is transmitted by droplets and contact to other individuals. Various ointments and fluids containing neomycin are used for therapy.

Trachoma. Trachoma is a bacterial infection of the eye caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. This organism is an extremely tiny chlamydia. It causes an infection of the cornea in which rough, sandy, pebblelike growths occur and interfere with vision. Tetracycline and other antibiotics are used for treatment. Transmission usually occurs by contact.

Secondary eye infections. Many sexually transmitted diseases result in secondary eye infections of the newborn when the bacteria are contacted during the birth process. One example of an infection is gonococcal ophthalmia, caused by Neisseria gonorrheae, the organism of gonorrhea. Inflammation of the cornea in the newborn can lead to blindness. Another possibility is chlamydial ophthalmia, due to infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, the organism that causes chlamydia. Antibiotics are used to treat these infections, and the eyes of newborns are routinely treated with antibiotic to prevent their occurrence.

Herpes keratitis. Herpes keratitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which has DNA. Transmitted by contact, this virus causes lessons of the cornea and other eye structure and may cause blindness. Acyclovir is used for therapy.

Adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis. Adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis is caused by a DNA virus called the adenovirus. This virus normally causes the common cold syndrome, but it can also be transmitted to the eye, where it may cause corneal opaqueness. When transmitted by water, the infection is called shipyard eye.

Loaiasis. Loaiasis is caused by the eyeworm Loa loa. This round‐worm is transmitted among humans by deerflies. The worms live in the skin tissues and concentrate in the conjunctiva and cornea of the eye. They can be removed with optical instruments.