Eye Chlamydia

Can You Get Chlamydia in Your Eye?

Chlamydia is an STI caused by bacteria. If chlamydia bacteria get in your eye, this can cause what is called chlamydial conjunctivitis.

What Are the Symptoms of an Eye Infection Caused by Chlamydia?

An eye infection caused by chlamydia bacteria will cause the same symptoms as other bacterial eye infections.

These include:

  • redness
  • discharge (is often present when waking up in the morning)
  • a burning sensation
  • a feeling of grit in your eyes

In some cases, you may notice that one of your lymph nodes by your ear is enlarged.

How Do You Catch Chlamydia in the Eye?

You can catch chlamydia of the eye when you rub fluids which contain the bacteria into your eye. This can happen if you have chlamydia and touch your eye after touching your genitals or those of an infected partner.

How is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed?

Conjunctivitis is normally diagnosed by assessing the symptoms. You don’t need to see a doctor if you are experiencing typical conjunctivitis symptoms, as a pharmacist will be able to assist you. You can use antibiotic eyedrops to cure the infection.

A doctor will not normally take steps to assess what is causing your symptoms unless the infection persists and antibiotic eyedrops fail to work.

If you have conjunctivitis caused by chlamydia bacteria, eyedrops will not cure the infection. If you think that you are suffering from chlamydial conjunctivitis, you need to see your GP. Chlamydia of the eye is treated with antibiotics which are taken by mouth.

Will the Infection Go Away by Itself?

In most cases, conjunctivitis goes away by itself. If the symptoms are very severe or fail to improve within a few days, you can use antibiotic eyedrops. You can buy them over the counter at your local pharmacy. However, chlamydia of the eye does not clear by itself and you need to see a doctor to get treated.If you have an eye infection which does not clear within two weeks you need to see a doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. 

How to Prevent Eye Infections Caused by Chlamydia

Chlamydia eye infections are easily prevented. If you have chlamydia, avoid touching your genitals and wash you hands every time you have touched them (for example after you have been to the toilet).You can avoid getting chlamydia by using a condom every time you have sex. If you have had unprotected sex with a partner who might have it you should take a chlamydia test. It is best if you don’t have unprotected sex with a new partner until both of you have tested negative for STIs.

Chlamydial Eye Infection in Babies

Although relatively harmless in adults, chlamydial conjunctivitis is one of the main causes of blindness in children. If the mother is infected, babies can contract chlamydia of the eye during childbirth. It is therefore important that you see a doctor straight away if your baby develops symptoms of an eye infection.

The symptoms usually develop within 1 day to two weeks after birth and they commonly include redness of the eye, swelling of the baby’s eyelids and discharge.

Conjunctivitis in babies is treated with oral antibiotics.

Pregnant women are offered free chlamydia screening to prevent the infection going undiagnosed until childbirth. It is important that you get tested if you are pregnant or planning for a baby.

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