Endophthalmitis Definition Explained

Page content

If you’ve ever been diagnosed with a medical disorder, you understand the confusion and concern that surround a diagnosis. The same is true of endophthalmitis, which is commonly referred to as endophthalmia. This condition of the eye has several various causes and accompanying symptoms. Therefore, to truly understand the nature of such a condition, it must be defined and explained in terms that can be easily understood.

Endophthalmitis Definition

Endophthalmitis is an infection of the eye that causes inflammation, namely swelling of the eyeball. Other symptoms may also be present. They include blurred or decreased vision, swelling of the eyelids, pain and/or irritation, and general redness of the eye. Most often caused by bacteria, this condition can also arise after having eye surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is rare for the infection to occur after optic surgery. Trauma to the structures of the eye itself and the presence of fungus can also cause this condition.

Different Types of Endophthalmitis

The eye infection is typically classified into two main categories, endogenous and exogenous endophthalmitis. However, these are two very broad classification systems that indicate the possible cause. When the condition is termed endogenous, this means that the infection was caused by the action of microbes that were present from another infection within the body. Exogenous endophthalmitis is related to trauma, foreign objects, and eye surgery that has resulted in the condition.


Endophthalmia is not an external condition of the eye. The structures affected are the internal tissues and cavities. For these reasons, the condition can be quite serious. Damage to the tissues can often result in permanent damage, including partial and/or complete vision loss in some patients. Treatment is required to avoid further damage to the eye, as the condition can often scar multiple intraocular structures.


Endophthalmitis. National Institute of Health. MedLine Plus. Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, Azar DT, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008: chap 7.9. Updated 2, August 2009. Viewed 26, December 2009. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001626.htm

Diagnosis: Endophhthalmitis. John Hopkins poc-IT Center. Updated 11, June 2009. Viewed 26, December 2009. https://hopkins-abxguide.org/diagnosis/eyes_orbits/endophthalmitis.html?contentInstanceId=255322