What Is Involved in Eye Inflammation Treatment?

Autumn Rivers

Inflammation of the eye can be caused by various conditions, and eye inflammation treatment tends to differ according to the underlying issue. In most cases, though, there are only a few options to reduce swelling. When allergies or a foreign object can be blamed for the issue, common eye inflammation treatment is to remove the irritant and then use a combination of compresses and eye drops. When bacteria are to blame, these remedies may be combined with antibiotic drops. Antiviral medicine and corticosteroids may need to be applied to the eye when a virus is present, while compresses and eye drops usually can be used to relieve discomfort as the eye heals.

A diagram of a human eye.
A diagram of a human eye.

When the cause of inflammation is thought to be a foreign object, patients usually are advised to try to flush out the object using clean hands and cold water. Afterward, cold or warm compresses can be applied to ease any discomfort, and artificial tears may be used to make sure the foreign object has been completely removed from the eye. The cause sometimes is a contact lens that does not fit properly or makeup that causes an allergic reaction, in which case the offending item should be removed from the eye. If the cause is determined to be allergies, then antihistamine eye drops may be used as the primary eye inflammation treatment.

Antibiotic eye drops can be a solution if eye inflammation is being caused by bacteria.
Antibiotic eye drops can be a solution if eye inflammation is being caused by bacteria.

In many cases, the cause of eye inflammation is bacteria, such as when bacterial conjunctivitis is diagnosed. The proper eye inflammation treatment in this case is one of the many antibiotic eye drops that can be obtained with a prescription from a doctor, though soothing antibiotic ointment may be preferred. Cold and warm compresses may then be alternated to reduce swelling and take away any pain, though patients should remember to wash their hands before and after treatment to avoid making the issue worse.

If antibiotic eye drops don't work, corticosteroid drops will likely be prescribed.
If antibiotic eye drops don't work, corticosteroid drops will likely be prescribed.

Inflammation sometimes is caused by a virus, in which case the eye should be washed out with saline solution a few times a day. A trip to the doctor usually is necessary to receive the proper eye inflammation treatment when a virus is involved, because antibiotic eye drops may not work but corticosteroid drops might. Depending on the virus, a doctor also might prescribe oral antiviral medicine to treat the underlying issue rather than just the eye inflammation. Patients also usually are advised to use warm or cold compresses and lubricating drops to keep the eye comfortable while the swelling is treated with medication.

A warm compress can ease eye inflammation.
A warm compress can ease eye inflammation.
Eye inflammation could be caused by an infection, allergy or object in the eye.
Eye inflammation could be caused by an infection, allergy or object in the eye.
Eye inflammation caused by allergies can be treated with anithistimine eye drops.
Eye inflammation caused by allergies can be treated with anithistimine eye drops.

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