Know the basics
What is oculomycosis?
Oculomycosis is a type of fungal eye infection. Eye infections can be caused by many different irritants, including bacteria, viruses, amoeba, and fungi. Eye infections caused by fungi are extremely rare, but they can be very serious. Fungal infections can affect different parts of the eye.
There are two primary types of oculomycosis:
- Keratitis: This is an infection of the clear, front layer of the eye (the cornea).
- Endophthalmitis: This is an infection of the inside of the eye (the vitreous and/or aqueous humor). There are two types of endophthalmitis: exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous fungal endophthalmitis occurs after fungal spores enter the eye from an external source. Endogenous endophthalmitis occurs when a bloodstream infection (for example, candidemia) spreads to one or both eyes.
How common is oculomycosis?
This condition can occur at any age, but it is considered as more popular in the old over 50 years old.
However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of oculomycosis?
In people who have had exposures that put them at risk for fungal eye infections, the symptoms of a fungal eye infection can present anywhere from several days to several weeks after the fungi enter the eye. The symptoms of a fungal eye infection are similar to the symptoms of other types of eye infections (such as those caused by bacteria) and can include:
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing
- Eye discharge
When should I see my doctor?
Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes oculomycosis?
It is believed that many of different types of fungi can cause eye infections. Common types include:
- Fusarium: A fungus that lives in the environment, especially in soil and on plants.
- Aspergillus: A common fungus that lives in indoor and outdoor environments
- Candida: A type of yeast that normally lives on human skin and on the protective lining inside the body called the mucous membrane.
What increases my risk for oculomycosis?
You may have higher risks for this condition if you are experiencing these following conditions:
- Eye injury, particularly with plant matter (for example, thorns or sticks)
- Eye surgery (most commonly, cataract surgery)
- Chronic eye disease involving the surface of the eye
- Wearing contact lenses
- Exposure to contaminated medical products that come in contact with the eye
- Fungal bloodstream infection (like candidemia)
In addition to the risk factors listed above, people who have diabetes, weakened immune system, or use corticosteroids may be more likely to develop fungal eye infections than people without these conditions.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is oculomycosis diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. To diagnose a fungal eye infection, your eye doctor will examine your eye and might take a small sample of tissue or fluid from your eye. The sample will be sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope or cultured. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and confocal microscopy are also being used as newer, faster forms of diagnosis; however, culture is the standard method for the definitive diagnosis of a fungal eye infection.
How is oculomycosis treated?
Depending on these following factors, the treatment options for a fungal eye infection will be suggested by your doctor:
- The type of fungus,
- The severity of the infection, and
- The parts of the eye that are affected.
Possible forms of treatment for fungal eye infections include:
- Antifungal eye drops
- Antifungal medication given as a pill or through a vein
- Antifungal medication injected directly into the eye
- Eye surgery
All types of fungal eye infections must be treated with prescription antifungal medication, usually for several weeks to months. Natamycin is a topical (meaning it’s given in the form of eye drops) antifungal medication that works well for fungal infections involving the outer layer of the eye, particularly those caused by fungi such as Aspergillus and Fusarium. However, infections that are deeper and more severe may require treatment with antifungal medication such as amphotericin B, fluconazole, or voriconazole. These medications can be given by mouth, through a vein, or injected directly into the eye. Patients whose infections don’t get better after using antifungal medications may need surgery, including corneal transplantation, removal of vitreous gel from the interior of the eye (vitrectomy), or in extreme cases, removal of the eye (enucleation).
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage oculomycosis?
You can reduce your risk by following these useful ways:
- Protective eyewear is recommended for people who are at risk for eye injuries involving plant matter, such as agricultural workers.
- People who wear contact lenses should make sure to follow proper contact lens care practices.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
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