Antifungal eye drops are part of the treatment regimen for eye infections caused by fungus. They are different from regular eye drops for dry eyes (artificial tears).
The most commonly prescribed antifungal eye drops include:
- Amphotericin B
Doctors consider the following when diagnosing and treating an eye infection:
- Type of fungus
- Severity of infection
- Part of the eye affected
Types of Antifungal Eye Drops
Here are the types of antifungal eye drops:
Several types of prescription antifungal eye medications exist for fungal keratitis and other fungal eye infections.
Natamycin eye drops treat infections involving the outer layer of the eye, particularly those caused by fungi such as Aspergillus and Fusarium.
Deeper infections usually require treatment and drops. This includes topical Natamycin paired with other antifungal medications such as:
- Amphotericin B
- Vfend (voriconazole)
These are oral or intravenous medications. They can also be topical medications placed directly into the eye or the skin surrounding the eye. Rare instances in which the infection doesn’t heal might require surgery.
Fungal eye infections can be very severe. Consult your doctor before using an OTC product. A fungal eye infection puts you at risk for blindness if not treated properly.
It’s essential that your doctor examines your eye and determines the location of the infection to assess your overall eye health.
To diagnose a fungal eye infection, your doctor will examine your eye. They might also take a small sample of tissue or fluid from your eye. This is not painful, and it does not damage your eye.
Side Effects of Antifungal Eye Drops
Antifungal eye drops are safe and effective, but side effects may occur. The most common side effect is mild irritation or discomfort.
Severe side effects could indicate an allergic reaction to the medication.
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following after using Natamycin or any other type of antifungal drug or topical medication:
- Reaction felt in the face, throat, or tongue
- Breathing difficulty
Despite the discomfort caused by antifungal eye drops, doctors believe the benefits outweigh the risk. Never stop using the medication without first consulting your doctor.
If you believe the side effects you experience using eye drops are intolerable, speak to your doctor.
How Do Fungal Eye Infections Occur?
Fungal eye infections are rare. However, they can be serious and require medical treatment. Most of the time, treatment includes antifungal eye drops, ointments, and pills.
Fungal eye infections occur in one of two ways:
- Keratitis. An infection of the cornea
- Endophthalmitis. An infection of the inside of the eye
The most common types of fungi that cause ocular infections include:
- Fusarium. Found in soil and on plants
- Aspergillus. Found in indoor and outdoor environments
- Candida. Yeast that lives on human skin and the protective lining inside the body (mucous membrane)
The most common causes of fungal eye infections include:
- Eye injury, particularly from perforation by plant material like a thorn or stick
- Eye surgery (most commonly corneal transplant surgery or cataract surgery)
- Chronic eye diseases that involve the surface of the eye
- Contact lenses, especially if you sleep in them
- Exposure to contaminated medical products
- Fungal bloodstream infection
- Use of corticosteroids
- Weakened immune system
Which Antifungal Eye Drops Are Best For You?
Your doctor will determine which antifungal eye drops are best for you based on the following:
- Infection type
- Intensity of the infection
- Part of your eye affected by the infection
Most fungal infections, including infectious keratitis and mycotic keratitis, are treatable. However, seeing an ophthalmologist as soon as possible is important. There is a risk of permanent damage to intraocular components and visual acuity if you leave infections untreated.
A thorough ophthalmology exam ensures proper, prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Your susceptibility to an eye infection is higher if you wear contact lenses or spend a lot of time outdoors.
All fungal eye infections must receive treatment with antifungal medication. Deeper infections might require multiple treatments and more healing time than surface infections.
In addition to antifungal drops, your doctor might prescribe oral or intravenous medication.
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