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The most common causes of inflammation of the eyeball are bacterial or viral eye infection and eye disease. Many other conditions may cause eye inflammation, including allergies, sinusitis, and the common cold. Eye injuries are another leading cause of inflammation of the eyeball, and this may include minor accidents or major trauma to the eye.
A common infection that affects the eye is called conjunctivitis. Symptoms of this eye infection are burning, stinging, redness, and inflammation. Discharge from the eye, pain, and swelling are other symptoms. The infection does not always cause all of the listed symptoms in every individual affected. Conjunctivitis is sometimes called pink eye due to the pinkish-red discoloration it causes. Treatment for conjunctivitis often involves antibiotic eye drops.
It is fairly common for individuals who are sensitive to airborne contaminants to suffer from inflammation of the eyeball. Allergies may also cause inflammation and redness of the eye. Excessive watery discharge due to allergies often causes eye inflammation. Repeatedly rubbing the eye as a result of allergies may cause irritation and inflammation as well.
Sinusitis, which is caused by inflamed sinus passages or sinus infection, may also cause inflammation of the eyeball. Swollen sinuses due to increased pressure may cause the orbital bone to feel painful and tender. Increased drainage and watery discharge from the eyes is a symptom of sinusitis, and this can lead to inflammation of the eyeball. In addition to sinus infections, the common cold sometimes causes redness and eye inflammation.
Eye injuries account for pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation along the outer eye and the eyeball. Sometimes the injury may be extreme, resulting in more serious complications than inflammation. A detached retina or scratched cornea may be a direct result of an eye injury as well.
There are several diseases of the eye known to cause inflammation and other more serious complications. Glaucoma, which causes increased pressure inside the eye and deterioration of the optic nerve, may produce early symptoms of eye inflammation. As the disease progresses, severe pain and loss of vision may occur. Another eye disease known as macular degeneration may also cause inflammation of the eyeball.
Less serious causes of eye inflammation include reaction to irritants such as smog and pollution, and foreign bodies that enter the eye. Specs of dirt or dust may cause itchy, red, and inflamed eyes. The use of specially formulated eye drops may relieve the redness and inflammation.