Living With, STD

How STDs Could Become Eye Diseases

May 30, 2018

What do the eyes and the genitals have in common? A surprising volume! The eyes and many pieces of the genitals are mucosal surfaces. These surfaces are also known as mucous membranes located in Several of areas including the:

  • Eyes
  • inside of the nose
  • inside of the mouth
  • lips
  • urethra
  • anus
  • vagina
  • lining of the foreskin

Mucus membranes are similar, but not identical, in structure.

What does that have to do with sexually transmitted diseases? Many STDs infect the mucosal surfaces of the genitals. These ailments may also infect other mucus membranes.

One place that sexually transmitted diseases can be especially dangerous is your eyes. If STDs become eye ailments, they could cause serious issues. In fact eye disorders brought on by STDs have been one of the primary causes of blindness around the world.

It is relatively uncommon for STDs to be seen as eye disorders in adults. They are much more commonly seen in very young kids who are vulnerable to infections during birth. One major reason these disorders are now rare in the developed world is the regular treatment of babies’ eyes at the time of birth. However, since treatment can itself cause attention issues, this may be changing. Some physicians prefer to test and treat pregnant women for STDs before they give birth so as to limit the need to use eye medications in a toddler.

Many nations are moving away from routine preventative therapy, also known a prophylaxis.

STDs That Can Be Eye Diseases

Not many STDs can become eye ailments. By way of example, HIV doesn’t infect the eyes, even though the virus and its therapies can sometimes make individuals more susceptible to eye problems.

Rather, the STDs that could lead to eye diseases are those that directly infect the skin and mucus membranes. Therefore, the STDs most commonly associated with eye diseases are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes.

Chlamydia infections of the eye are occasionally known as trachoma. These illnesses are one of the leading infectious cause of blindness in the developing world. Less severe infections can result in reduced vision. Most of the eye problems caused by chlamydia infection are caused by scarring and inflammation. Fortunately, early treatment can prevent the severe effects. In general, this treatment involves antibiotics taken orally or applied directly to the eyes. In areas in which the disease is common, there’s a big focus on facial cleanliness for avoidance.

Much like chlamydia eye infections, gonorrhea of their eye is primarily seen in teens. In adults, most eye diseases brought on by gonorrhea are caused by autoinoculation. To put it differently, people’s eyes get infected once they touch their eyes after touching contaminated fluid or secretions. It’s also possible for a person’s eyes to be infected after direct exposure to a spouse’s infected secretions. Eye disorder caused by gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics, generally given as an outcome.

If not treated appropriately, gonorrhea eye disorder can result in eyesight damage or even blindness.

Ocular syphilis infections are less common than eye disorder brought on by chlamydia and gonorrhea. But in 2015, a remarkably large number of eye infections brought on by syphilis were seen in the United States. These cases were mostly found in men who have sex with guys, and approximately half have been in men who were HIV positive. Eye infections brought on by syphilis may lead to redness, blurry vision, and blindness. The suggested treatment is intravenous aqueous penicillin G. This is likewise the treatment advocated for individuals with neurosyphilis.

The herpes simplex viruses may lead to eye disease as well as lesions on the face as well as the genitals. Since herpes isn’t curable, people with herpes eye infections often have them repeatedly over time. This may lead to a substantial decrease in quality of life. Vision problems tend to be worse during active outbreaks but may also persist when no lesions are present.

Fortunately, eye disorder isn’t a particularly common complication of herpes. In addition, herpes antivirals such as acyclovir have been demonstrated to reduce the frequency with which eye symptoms happen. Antiviral treatment may also be used for eye infections caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). VSV is the herpes virus that causes chicken pox and shingles.  Some research indicates that herpes eye disorders are more likely to occur in people that are HIV positive or have diabetes.

A Word From Verywell

Nowadays, eye disorders due to sexually transmitted pathogens are rather rare in the USA. In large part, this is due to doctors using preventative measures at the time of childbirth–when most these diseases are transmitted. But, it is still possible to end up with an eye disease caused by an STD or other infection. That’s why it is a great idea to try and prevent rubbing or picking in your eyes. If you have to do this, be certain to clean your hands first before touching your face. And do not forget to check in with your doctor if you begin to have unusual eye symptoms or release. Eye infections are not fun, but they are usually very treatable with the correct medication.