4 Things You Need To Know About Fungal Endophthalmitis

Have you noticed that functioning in general is harder? Learn why visiting an optometrist may help you find the source of the problem.

4 Things You Need To Know About Fungal Endophthalmitis

13 January 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Endophthalmitis refers to inflammation inside the eyeball. This inflammation can be caused by many factors, including fungal infections. Here are four things you need to know about fungal endophthalmitis.

What causes fungal endophthalmitis?

Since your eye is a closed structure, it's hard for fungi to get inside, but there are a couple ways that this can happen. First, you may inhale airborne fungi, which colonize your lungs, and later move up to your eyes. This is a problem for people who are immunocompromised and whose bodies can't fight off the invading fungi. Second, the fungi may be inadvertently introduced to your eyes during ophthalmologic surgeries like cataract transplantations.

A variety of fungi can lead to fungal endophthalmitis. The most common fungal cause is Candida albicans, a type of fungus that is naturally present in both the mouth in the gastrointestinal tract. Aspergillus is another possible culprit. Aspergillus is widespread in nature, and can be found in places like soil, water, or household mildew.

What are the signs of this infection?

Decreased vision is a major sign of this condition and is the main reason that sufferers visit an optometrist. However, many other symptoms can occur. Eyelid edema (swelling of the eyelid), pain within the eye, sensitivity to light, or the appearance of floaters can also be warning signs of fungal endophthalmitis. You may experience these symptoms in one or both eyes.

To diagnose this condition, your optometrist will carefully examine the inside of your eye with an ophthalmologic device known as a slit lamp. Using this device, your optometrist will be able to see fungal lesions in the back of your eye and within the vitreous (gel-like filling) of your eye.

How is fungal endophthalmitis treated?

To treat this condition, you will need to undergo a vitrectomy. This surgical procedure involves removing the vitreous from inside your eye and replacing it with a saline solution. Next, your optometrist will inject an antifungal medication into this inner cavity of your eye. For at least the next six weeks, you'll need to take systemic antifungal therapy to ensure that the infection clears up. Your optometrist will monitor you during this time to make sure that your eye is recovering properly.

What is the prognosis?

Fungal endophthalmitis tends to have poor visual outcomes. Your exact prognosis will vary based on the type of fungi responsible for your infection, the extent of the swelling, and how promptly you seek treatment. By seeking prompt treatment, you can reduce your chances of experiencing significant visual loss.

If you think you have fungal endophthalmitis, see an optometrist like Montgomery Eye Center.