Skin fungus around eyes: About Fungal Eye Infections | Types of Diseases | Fungal Diseases

Fungal Eye Infections | National Fungal Disease Awareness Week

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The most common types of eye infections are viral and bacterial, but another type of pathogen can also cause an eye infection. Fungal eye infections can be serious and may lead to vision loss or complete blindness in some cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fungal eye infections are rare. The frequency of fungal infections is good news, but the bad news is fungal eye infections can be severe. The article below takes a look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment for fungal eye infections. 

What causes a fungal eye infection? 

Various types of fungi can get into the eye and cause an eye infection. Possible types of fungi that can cause an infection include: 
• Filamentous 
• Aspergillus 
• Fusarium solani 

Usually, the fungus gets into the eye through an injury, such as accidentally scratching the eye with a tree branch. Less commonly, a person may have a fungal infection in their body, and it travels to the eyes. 

Risks of developing a fungal eye infection 

Anyone can develop a fungal eye infection, but there are certain things that may increase a person’s risk, such as the following:

  • Sustaining an eye injury, especially one that is from thorns or other plants
  • Having eye surgery
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Having a fungal bloodstream infection
  • Exposure to contaminated medical products 


In some cases, the symptoms of a fungal eye infection can develop quickly after exposure to fungi, but in other instances, it can take several weeks after an exposure for symptoms to develop.

Symptoms are similar to other types of eye infections, such as bacterial infections. Symptoms of a fungal eye infection may include:

  • Eye pain that can become severe
  • Eye redness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Blurred vision

If you develop any symptoms of an eye infection, it is best to see a doctor right away. Whether it is a fungal infection or some other type of infection, a proper diagnosis is vital. 


Treatment for a fungal eye infection should start immediately to reduce the risk of permanent damage to the eyes or vision loss. The exact treatment may depend on the severity of the infection and whether fungal ulcers have developed.

Different topical antifungal treatments may be an option, such as natamycin eye drops. In some cases, if a fungal eye infection is severe or not treatable with eye drops alone, oral medication is given.

In the most serious cases, or if someone cannot take an oral medication, antifungal drugs are administered intravenously.  


It may not always be possible to prevent a fungal infection, but there are certain steps a person can take to decrease the likelihood. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Wear protective eyewear when hiking outside in thick brush where there is a risk of injury from tree branches or other plants.
  • When having eye surgery, follow all preoperative and postoperative instructions to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Always wash your hands before handling eye makeup or contact lenses.
  • Make sure to follow all contact lens instructions on how to clean your lenses.
  • Only wear contact lenses for the length of time directed by the manufacturer.
  • If you have signs of an eye infection, take your contacts out.
  • Wear swim goggles when swimming in lakes, rivers, and the ocean.

If you have any questions about fungal eye infections, please give us a call. Also, do not hesitate to seek help if you have signs of a fungal eye infection. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the prognosis.

If you would like to ask whether an appointment with one of our eye doctors would be appropriate at this time, call our office at 508-746-8600. 

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