Can You Get Chlamydia in Your Eye?

Chlamydia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC)Trusted Source, is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the US with about 2.86 million infections occurring annually.

Although Chlamydia trachomatis occurs in all age groups and affects both men and women, it is most common in young women. The CDCTrusted Source estimates that 1 in 20 sexually active women aged 14-24 has chlamydia.

While the infection is more common in the genital area, it’s also possible to contract a chlamydial eye infection. This is often referred to as inclusion or chlamydial conjunctivitis.

Read also:  8 Complications of STIs

chlamidia in eye

Though not as common as viral conjunctivitis, chlamydia can cause redness and swelling of the eyelids and the whites of the eye.

Inclusion conjunctivitis and trachoma is a bacterial eye infection that can cause swelling and itching. The bacteria that causes this infection is Chlamydia trachomatis.

Chlamydia trachomatis is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in developing countries.

Chlamydia trachomatis can be spread through contact, either direct or indirect. At first, the infection may appear similar to the initial inflammatory symptoms of trachoma. However, it’s actually connected with the strains of chlamydia trachomatis that result in the genital infection.

Symptoms of a chlamydial eye infection include:

  • redness in eyes
  • irritation
  • swollen eyelids
  • mucous discharge
  • tearing
  • photophobia
  • swollen lymph nodes around eyes

Newborns can contract a chlamydial eye infection, as the bacteria can pass to the child from the vaginal canal during delivery. Research shows 30 to 50 percentTrusted Source of infants whose mother has a chlamydial infection will contract neonatal conjunctivitis.

The best way to prevent passing a chlamydial eye infection to your newborn is to ensure you’ve been treated for chlamydia prior to giving birth.

Chlamydial eye infections are treatable through antibiotics. Early detection is important because the condition may worsen over time. Your doctor will likely determine your condition using a laboratory test for the specific strain.

Treatment is generally effective within a few weeks, but it’s possible to experience the condition again even if you have been treated for it in the past.

Chlamydial infections are commonly associated with the genitals as the infectious bacteria is typically passed from one person to another during unprotected sex. Chlamydia trachomatis can also affect the eyes if the bacteria come in contact with them. The symptoms are similar to pink eye( eye infection by other causes).

Speak with your doctor if you believe you’re experiencing a chlamydial eye infection. Treatment is generally effective in a relatively short time frame.

Read also: Female chlamydia symptoms 

Jose Phiri

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