About Fungal Eye Infections

Medical illustration of <em>Fusarium</em>, a fungus that can cause eye infections.

Medical illustration of Fusarium, a fungus that can cause eye infections.

Eye infections can be caused by many different organisms, including bacteria, viruses, amoeba, and fungi. Eye infections caused by fungi are extremely rare, but they can be very serious.

Types of fungal eye infections
Fungal infections can affect different parts of the eye.

  • Keratitis is an infection of the clear, front layer of the eye (the cornea).
  • Endophthalmitis is an infection of the inside of the eye (the vitreous and/or aqueous humor). There are two types of endophthalmitis: exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous fungal endophthalmitis occurs after fungal spores enter the eye from an external source. Endogenous endophthalmitis occurs when a bloodstream infection (for example, candidemia) spreads to one or both eyes.

Types of fungi that cause eye infections
Many of different types of fungi can cause eye infections. Common types include:

  • Fusarium – a fungus that lives in the environment, especially in soil and on plants
  • Aspergillus – a common fungus that lives in indoor and outdoor environments
  • Candida – a type of yeast that normally lives on human skin and on the protective lining inside the body called the mucous membrane