Endophthalmitis Care in Baltimore
Also serving Pikesville, Owings Mills, Glen Burnie, & Rosedale
Endophthalmitis is a type of infection of the fluids or tissues inside the eye and is considered an urgent medical concern. These infections tend to happen after eye injuries, eye injections, eye surgery, or major illnesses and could leave you blind without prompt treatment. Contact our ophthalmologist as soon as possible if you experience signs of endophthalmitis.
Elman Retina Group is a highly respected ophthalmology center providing comprehensive care and procedures for retinal diseases, conditions and injuries. Dr. Michael Elman has more than 30 years of experience specializing in retinal concerns and is among the best in his field. He’s an internationally recognized leader in clinical research for retinal disease and care. Dr. Sidney Schechet and Dr. David Dao have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating endophthalmitis, and both have done cutting-edge research into improving endophthalmitis outcomes.
What Is Endophthalmitis?
There are two types of endophthalmitis infections. The most common form is exogenous endophthalmitis, in which bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi get inside the eye after eye trauma, surgery or injections into the eyeball. Puncture wounds from an accident commonly cause this type of infection, but it’s relatively rare for cataract surgery or eye injections to lead to endophthalmitis. Acute endophthalmitis causes symptoms to develop within a few days of the eye injury or procedure, but chronic endophthalmitis happens slowly, delaying signs something is wrong.
Endogenous endophthalmitis is the other form of infection that happens when an infection, such as a blood infection or urinary tract infection, spreads from another part of the body into the eyeball.
Endophthalmitis symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Worsening eye pain after trauma to the eye
- Red eye
- Swollen or puffy eyelids
- Discharge or pus coming from the eye
- Vision loss
Most patients will experience blurry eyesight (94.3%) with endophthalmitis, along with eye redness (82.1%) and eye pain (74%). If you experience any of these symptoms after eye surgery, injury or injections, contact Elman Retina Group right away for diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing and Treating Endophthalmitis
Our retinal specialists will use several tests to diagnose endophthalmitis. They will examine your eyes, test your vision and ask about any recent eye surgeries or accidents involving the eyes. Sometimes, an ocular ultrasound is necessary to search for foreign objects left inside the eye after an injury.
If the doctor suspects an infection, he may perform a vitreous or aqueous biopsy in the office. These are the fluids found inside the eye, and a tiny needle withdraws a sample and sends the specimen to a lab to test for infection.
Endophthalmitis is typically treated with antibiotic and antifungal medicines injected into the eyeball, but steroids may be needed to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by the infection. In severe cases, vitrectomy surgery to remove the vitreous gel inside the eyeball is necessary to restore eye health and function. The fluid is replaced with a sterile fluid and medicine is injected to treat the infection and inflammation.
Any type of endophthalmitis is serious with a guarded and unpredictable outcome. Close monitoring is always needed with many visits. Patients often need to take several eyedrops and oral medications to treat the infection in addition to the intraocular injections performed by the retina doctor.
How likely is endophthalmitis after an eye injury?
According to the American Society of Retina Specialists, a traumatic injury that penetrates the eye results in endophthalmitis 4 to 13% of the time. Factors that may increase your odds of developing this condition following an injury include delayed medical treatment for the injury, foreign debris that remains in the eye, significant damage to the lens, and living in a rural environment.
Can vision lost to endophthalmitis be restored with treatment?
In some cases, vision can be recovered — at least partially — with proper timely endophthalmitis diagnosis and treatment. However, some forms of endophthalmitis can cause severe irreversible vision loss even with timely proper treatment. Fortunately, there are treatment options for a hopeful outcome for endophthalmitis patients.
What can I do to prevent endophthalmitis?
In addition to taking the proper safety precautions to prevent an eye injury such as wearing protective eye wear in potentially hazardous situations, you should follow all your doctor’s instructions after eye surgery and procedures, including cataract surgery and intravitreal injections, to minimize complication risks. Anytime you administer eye drops, wash your hands and avoid allowing the dropper to touch your eye.
Which types of bacteria and fungi can lead to endophthalmitis?
The causative organism often depends on the type of endophthalmitis, the region, and the type of eye procedure (if applicable). Here in the United States, most bacteria-related cases of endophthalmitis are caused by staphylococcus aureus (better known as “staph”) bacteria that resides on the skin, especially in areas like the nose, underarms, and groin. Staph is the top cause of skin infections. Americans are also susceptible to streptococcus pneumoniae, which typically causes a severe form of endophthalmitis. It is spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets expelled when coughing or sneezing. This bacteria can also cause infections in the lungs, sinuses, ears, and blood.
Most fungal endophthalmitis cases are due to candida albicans, a pathogenic yeast that is created in the human gut but can also thrive outside the human body. This is typically seen with Endogenous Endophthalmitis (endophthalmitis with the source being from an infected part of the body).
Is endophthalmitis contagious?
No. While it is true that transmissible infections can contribute to endophthalmitis, endophthalmitis itself does not transfer from one patient to another or one eye to the other.
Does endophthalmitis hurt?
Eye pain is a likely sign of and result of endophthalmitis. Unfortunately, the pain can be severe for some patients, while minimal for others. With proper treatment, you should see this pain go away in a matter of 1-2 days. Anytime you experience significant eye discomfort, regardless of whether it turns out to be endophthalmitis, it is important to visit an eye doctor to diagnose the problem.
Can endophthalmitis spread to the brain?
While it is very uncommon for endophthalmitis to spread to the brain, it has been reported and one of the reasons to treat the endophthalmitis. This usually occurs in patients who are immunocompromised, thus emphasizing the need for immunocompromised patients to detect and treat the condition early.
Is endophthalmitis ever misdiagnosed?
Unfortunately, endophthalmitis is frequently misdiagnosed. Early signs of endophthalmitis often look like anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris) or orbital cellulitis (an infection of the muscles and fat immediately surrounding the eye). Because both conditions are more common than endophthalmitis, a less proficient doctor may assume it is either anterior uveitis or orbital cellulitis first. By seeking care at Elman Retina Group, you can count on Dr. Elman, Dr. Schechet, and Dr. Dao to have the knowledge and tools to diagnose your ailment correctly and start the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Contact Elman Retina Group in Maryland
Endophthalmitis is a serious medical issue, but proper eye care can help prevent these eye infections by avoiding common eye injuries. Wear protective eyewear when working with eye hazards or playing contact sports and contact our eye doctor if you experience an eye injury with worsening pain and vision problems.
Contact Elman Retina Group immediately if you suspect endophthalmitis. Call our Rosedale, Glen Burnie and Pikesville, Maryland, offices at (410) 686-3000.