MRSA infections can cause problems throughout your body. This antibiotic-resistant type of staph is also a common cause of eye infections.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is notorious for eluding the effects of common antibiotic treatments. A so-called superbug, MRSA infections can affect various parts of the body or even enter the bloodstream. It commonly occurs after hospitalizations and surgery.

When MRSA is the cause of an eye infection, it usually appears as conjunctivitis or pink eye. A MRSA infection in the eye doesn’t usually cause permanent damage to your vision.

This article will cover what you need to know about MRSA infections of the eye, what to expect if you develop one of these infections, and how they can be treated.

MRSA bacteria can cause infections in many areas of the body.

When it comes to eye infections, MRSA accounts for 39% to 46% of all eye infections. Most MRSA eye infections present as bacterial conjunctivitis. But the conjunctiva isn’t the only part of the eye that can become infected with MRSA.

As a whole, MRSA can affect the following areas in the eye:

MRSA in the eye can cause increased tear production, soreness, redness, and even blurred vision. The exact symptoms you develop depend on the specific area of the eye infected.

MRSA infections of the eye typically cause the following infections and their related complications:

Infections with MRSA in the inner areas of the eye typically cause the most severe symptoms and can even cause permanent vision loss or blindness in rare cases.

MRSA is spread through direct contact with a surface or individual with the bacteria.

Staphylococcus aureus is a pretty common type of bacteria overall. But not all bacteria in this family are resistant to antibiotics. In some cases, you may already be colonized with S. aureus and only develop an infection if the bacteria takes over in different areas of the body.

Studies have estimated that about 35% of the general public and up to 66% of healthcare workers are colonized with S. aureus.

Once S. aureus is in your body, your immune system may be able to fight it off or control the spread.

Many people are colonized with this bacteria, meaning there is a certain about in their body, but it’s controlled to the point where it’s not causing a problem. When the bacteria overtakes your natural defenses, it can create an acute infection and even spread to other areas of your body.

If a MRSA infection enters your bloodstream, it can cause a massive infection called septicemia that can create problems throughout your entire body and even lead to death.

MRSA is a contagious bacteria and can be spread through contact with a person or surface with the bacteria.

Skin-to-skin spread is common. This includes transmission to your eye if you’ve touched anything contaminated with MRSA and then touch your eye.

MRSA doesn’t usually cause blindness.

However, when the infection affects the inner structures of your eye (like the vitreous humor), vision changes or even blindness can occur. Severe MRSA infections of the eye that can lead to vision changes typically develop in people who:

S. aureus infections can usually be treated with antibiotics.

However, MRSA infections are resistant to many forms of antimicrobial medications. How well MRSA infections of the eye can be treated with antibiotics depends on the individual infection and the antibiotic used.

Below are some estimates of how resistant MRSA infections of the eye are to particular antibiotics:

  • 64% were resistant to ciprofloxacin
  • 24% were resistant to fusidic acid
  • 10% were resistant to gentamicin

Research indicates that vancomycin and chloramphenicol are the most effective antibiotics to use when treating an MRSA infection of the eye.

MRSA is a common bacterial infection that is resistant to treatment with many types of antibiotics. These infections can develop anywhere in the body, and are a leading cause of bacterial eye infections like pink eye, blepharitis, and keratitis.

Vision changes and blindness are rare complications of an MRSA infection of the eye but can happen when the infection affects the inner parts of the eye instead of the more superficial areas like the conjunctiva or eyelid.

If you have an eye infection, redness, inflammation, or pain that is not getting better with time or antibiotic treatment, be sure to make an appointment to see your eye doctor or another healthcare professional. MRSA infections that enter your bloodstream can lead to severe infections affecting your entire body.