Vitreous humor is the jelly-like filling inside your eyes. It's responsible for giving your eyes their round shape and for holding your retina in place at the back of your eye. It's possible for the vitreous humor to become inflamed, and when this happens, the resulting condition is known as endophthalmitis. Here are five things you need to know about this serious eye condition.
What are the signs of endophthalmitis?
The symptoms of this condition are similar to the symptoms of other eye conditions. You may have red eyes, pain inside your eyes, swollen eyelids, or blurred vision. If you notice these symptoms, see your optometrist right away.
What causes it?
About 60% of endophthalmitis cases occur after eye surgeries such as cataract removal procedures. Other eye procedures, like intravitreal injections, also have endophthalmitis as a possible complication. It can also be caused by traumatic eye injuries such as injuries that penetrate the eye. Finally, blood borne infections caused by bacteria like Streptococcus or S. aureus can cross the blood-retina barrier and infect your vitreous.
Can it damage your vision?
This condition can lead to many sight-threatening complications if it's not treated in time. Your cornea, the lens in the front of your eye, can become perforated by the swelling. This perforation can leave scar tissue that permanently decreases your vision, and if you have a lot of scar tissue, you may need a corneal transplant. Worse, the inflammation can lead to phthisis bulbi, a shrunken, non-seeing eye.
Is it treatable?
The main treatment for this condition is the injection of antibiotics directly into the vitreous. This delivery method allows a higher concentration of the antibiotics to reach the vitreous as compared to intravenous or oral delivery methods. You may also be given corticosteroid eye drops. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and can help to reduce the damage the infection does to your eye.
How common is endophthalmitis?
Endophthalmitis is a rare condition. The annual incidence in the United States is only 5 per 10,000 hospitalized patients. Though most cases develop after eye surgery, it's a very rare complication of these surgeries. For example, only 0.1% to 0.3% of people who undergo cataract surgery will develop endophthalmitis. Among people who get penetrating eye injuries, only 4% to 13% of them will develop the complication.
If your eyes are red and sore after eye surgery or an injury, you may have endophthalmitis and need to see an opthalmologist at Nevada Institute Of Ophthalmology immediately.