If one of your eyes suddenly appears red, swollen, and infected, you might wonder what you can do to treat it. Eye infections can develop from many things, including bacteria and fungi. Viruses can also trigger infections. Because you don't know why your eye's infected, it's important to keep it under control until you seek urgent care. Here's what you do.
Clean Your Hands and Eye
If you share washcloths, eye drops, and even sunglasses, you may potentially spread your eye infection to other people. Some infections of the eye create large amounts of discharge that contains contaminants. Two of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection is to wash your hands and keep your eye clean.
If you share a sink with other people, ask them to remove their personal items from it. Until you wash your hands, you can still contaminant the surfaces of the sink and the things on it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use regular hand soap if you don't have antibacterial soap on hand. Dry your hands thoroughly on several paper towels, then discard the towels in a plastic trash bag.
Hold your head over the sink, then gently wash it with cool water. Although this step may burn a little, it can help loosen up and remove the discharge from your eye. Dry your face and eye with a clean cloth, then place the cloth in the trash bag. Seal the bag, then discard it in a trash can.
Wash your hands again to remove any discharge and contaminants from them.
Clean Your Remotes, Phones, and Other Electronics
You can take additional steps to prevent the spread of your eye infection by cleaning all the electronic devices in your home that you recently touched or handled. Electronic devices can become breeding grounds for a great number of germs. The infectious material in your eye can potentially spread to your loved ones and friends if they touch them.
You'll need to cover your hands with gloves when you clean your items. You can reinfect the items or pick up a new infection. To clean delicate computer screens and monitors, use a lightly damp disinfectant cloth. Be sure to wipe down your keypads and other buttons with a new cloth. Discard your cloths and gloves in the trash, then wash your hands.
If you have other items in your home that may be contaminated, clean them as well. This includes salt and pepper shakers, door knobs, and refrigerator handles.
Contact an urgent care center as soon as possible to receive permanent care for your infection.