Living with endophthalmitis
Endophthalmitis is a rare condition. It can lead to vision loss, but prompt treatment with antibiotic or antifungal medicine can be effective. The sooner treatment begins, the better the visual outcome. If your sight is affected by the condition, you can get help and support to make the most of your vision.
Managing your endophthalmitis
Most people with endophthalmitis need to have an intravitreal injection, a procedure that uses a small needle to inject medicine directly into the eye. People with bacterial endophthalmitis will have intravitreal antibiotics, people with a fungal infection will have antifungal medicine. Because the condition can have serious consequences for your sight, in severe cases, you might be admitted for a short hospital stay (for example, to have intravenous antibiotics).
The condition tends to start improving within a few days. It's normal for eye pain and redness to start getting better before your vision begins to recover. If you have medicine such as eye drops to take at home, follow your doctor's instructions. This could include taking the full course of medicine, washing your hands before using eye drops, and wearing an eye patch.
Some people need additional treatment if the intravitreal injection doesn't successfully treat their infection. Vitrectomy surgery removes infected vitreous fluid from the eye.
You will have regular follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery and vision.
Endophthalmitis and driving
It's common for endophthalmitis to affect your sight, causing blurred and worsening vision. Speak to your ophthalmologist before driving after having endophthalmitis. The DVLA has a minimum required standard of vision, including visual acuity and field of vision. Your ophthalmologist may need to test your sight and check that you still meet the standard for driving.
Can you work with endophthalmitis?
You might need some time off work to have treatment and recover from endophthalmitis. After returning to work, you could still need occasional time off for follow-up appointments.
If you have a poor visual outcome after treatment, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't work. You might need some adjustments to how you work to make the most of your remaining vision. Under the Equality Act, employers have a responsibility to support their employees who have vision impairments. You can try talking to your employer about your situation and the support you need.
There are practical solutions that could help:
- Screen reader software, voice recognition programmes, apps and accessibility features on digital devices
- Brighter lighting
- Visuals aids including magnifiers
The Access to Work scheme gives employers grants to pay for equipment or services beyond the reasonable adjustments your employer should make. Examples of how these grants can be used include help travelling to and from work if you can't use public transport, funding a support worker, and specialist equipment.
Support for people living with endophthalmitis
Although endophthalmitis can be treated, some people experience vision loss as a result of the condition. If this happens to you, there is lots of practical and emotional support to help you.
It can take time to adjust to life with a visual impairment. You may find it helpful speaking to other people who've been through it, especially those who've already adapted to life with a visual impairment. We offer lots of advice and support that can help you adapt.
You may need support to make your home safer, training in skills for daily living, and guidance on how to get around safely. For help with this:
- Your ophthalmologist may refer you to a hospital Eye Clinic Liaison Officer for support and information.
- Social services may assess your needs and give advice, equipment and adaptations for life at home.
- We have many tips and techniques to help you live the life you choose, including independent living skills at home and for personal care.
Frequently asked questions
Get in touch
You can contact us to find out about services and support tailored to your individual needs.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists champions excellence in the practice of ophthalmology and is the only professional membership body for medically qualified ophthalmologists. The RCOphth is unable to offer direct advice to patients. If you’re concerned about the health of your eyes, you should seek medical advice from your GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist.