Eye health

Hypopyon:  7 Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Have you ever heard of Hypopyon. It is a disorder of the eye. Let’s explore all the possible causes, symptoms and treatment of Hypopyon.

The eye is a vital part of the body since it provides sight for a majority of human beings. However, like any other body part, it is vulnerable to infections and diseases. Infections and inflammatory issues are common problems the eye experiences.

These eye infections are of various types. What is Hypopyon? Hypopyon is the accumulation of pus at the bottom of the anterior eye chamber.

It can also be identified as the condition where the eye bulges because of the accumulation of pus in the anterior portion of the eye. It is easy to diagnose and cure this condition. Hypopyon causes inflammation in the eye. This condition makes it appear as though the eye is full of liquid.

The pus located in the anterior portion of the eye comprises of leukocytes or white blood cells. The fluid does not contain any fungi, bacteria, virus, or pathogens. According to medical experts, hypopyon is an inflammatory infection that develops in the event of a corneal ulcer. This condition is a result of an immune reaction.

The immune reaction arises from a buildup of white blood cells, which accumulate in the frontal chamber of the eye creating a wall of defense against the fungi, viruses, and bacteria. When the defense wall the white blood cells create stays for long, then hypopyon develops.

The appearance of an eye with hypopyon is because of the toxins that are released while the white blood cells mount a defense against the virus, bacteria, and fungi. The released toxins make white blood cells appear to help create a defense to fight against the pathogens pouring into the body through the vessels.

The inflammation this condition causes in the anterior portion of the eye can be in the uvea or the Iris. The Iris is the part that gives the eye its color. However, the Uvea is divided into different sections as it has a wider coverage from the eye globe to the retina.

The front part of the eye has a thin mucous membrane covering known as conjunctiva. The covering lines the inside part of the eyelids as well as overlying the white part of the eye. The white part of the eye is known as the sclera. The major function of the conjunctiva is to abstract any organisms from entering the eye chambers and causing infections. However, sometimes the conjunctiva is breachable, and this results in hypopyon.

Hypopyon Causes:

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Corneal ulcers:

Corneal ulcers are the result of the damage that occurs to the eye’s cornea when chemicals or foreign elements enter the eye. They can also come about from eye trauma.

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When a harmful virus, bacteria, or pathogen enters the eye chambers through the breach, these pathogens tend to accumulate. The effect of the accumulation of these pathogens is an inflammation and infection, then hypopyon.

Herpes Zoster and Herpes simplex:

The herpes simplex virus causes a medical condition that has several symptoms of inflammation and skin cold sores. Apart from that, the herpes simplex virus also causes ocular herpes. Ocular herpes is a viral infection that recurs and ultimately the scarring of the eye’s cornea.

Most people may refer to this condition as an eye cold sore. While herpes zoster awakens a latent varicella-zoster virus that is similar to pathogens responsible for the chicken pox. Despite, overcoming the chicken pox virus and remaining dormant for a long time, the herpes zoster virus can reactivate it once more.

The symptoms of this virus are blisters and rashes on the skin that are extremely painful and cause plenty of discomforts. These two viruses can easily cause hypopyon. The herpes zoster and the herpes simplex are such viruses that result in causative organisms.

Virus infection:

Virus infection is the most popular cause of hypopyon. Any virus infection that manages to penetrate through the conjunctiva increases the risk of hypopyon. According to medical research, people with an eye virus infection have higher chances of acquiring a hypopyon infection, unlike those without virus infection.


The bacteria known for causing tuberculosis Mycobacterium tuberculosis does not only cause tuberculosis, but it also leads to a hypopyon infection. This pathogen causes an eye disease known as uveitis, which leads to a hypopyon infection.

The transmission of this bacterium is through the air by the droplets a tuberculosis patient generates in their respiratory system. Even though the tuberculosis mycobacterium attacks the lungs, it can still attack the eye and cause ocular disease. The ocular disease it causes the uvea to swell and hence the hypopyon condition.

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Uvea and Iris Infections:

Infections on the uvea and iris ultimately cause inflammation in the eye. The inflammation results in the eye acquiring a hypopyon infection.

Multiple sclerosis and Psoriatic Arthritis:

A condition like multiple sclerosis comes from autoimmune issues. These issues can cause hypopyon or the formation of pus on the lower parts of the eye without an infection. Multiple sclerosis affects the protective layer around the nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain.

The destruction of the protective layer leads to nerve damage and the disruption of information through the nerves to the brain. A majority of people who have multiple sclerosis have a problem with their vision. Eyesight issues occur because the optic nerve that joins the brain and the eye together.

While psoriatic arthritis has several symptoms and they include; scales and silver spoons. The leading cause of psoriatic arthritis is an attack by the immune system. In some cases, this disease is related to eye pain, eye dryness, and conjunctivitis. Sometimes the condition flares up irritating the eye.

Lyme disease and Toxocariasis:

The two diseases are systematic infections, which can cause hypopyon to manifest. Lyme disease is a condition that features several symptoms like headaches, fatigue, fever and skin rashes. The cause of Lyme disease is Borrelia Burgdorferi that is transmitted to humans through a tick.

Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease include discomfort when the eyes are exposed to light, pain and ocular inflammation. Apart from these symptoms, the disease can cause swelling and damage to the optic nerve.

It can also cause the cornea to swell and induce the production of pus in the conjunctivitis section of the eye. Toxocariasis is an illness that occurs because of the roundworms larvae found in cats and dogs. The symptoms of this disease include an enlarged kidney, an inflammation of the organs and other tissues.

However, toxocariasis does negatively affect the eye. This disease can lead to ocular toxocariasis. This happens when the roundworm larva migrates inside the eye and cause an inflammation mass and a retinal granuloma.

Hypopyon symptoms:

Like mentioned earlier, hypopyon is not a harmful condition. It is the accumulation of pus around the anterior parts of the eye. The symptoms of hypopyon are:

  • The constant irritation of the eyeball’s anterior chamber
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Presence of pus between the iris and cornea that is visible
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Diagnosis of Hypopyon:

Testing whether a person has hypopyon is a quick test, and it requires your physician to do a physical examination. Doctors can diagnose the condition without the use of clinical machines and equipment.

They have to examine your eye and determine whether you have the condition. Once they determine if you have hypopyon, your healthcare will determine the cause of the condition to give you an adequate treatment plan.

Hypopyon Treatment:

Treatment of hypopyon depends on the cause of the condition. For instance, if the cause of the condition were Tuberculosis, then the first cause of action would be treating the tuberculosis pathogen to cure hypopyon. The other factor that a healthcare provider will look at is the inflammation rate of the condition.

However, as mentioned earlier the condition is not permanent neither is it harmful, but you should not delay getting medical treatment.

When treating this condition, most doctors ensure that they do not drain the fluid as it still acts as a protective barrier against the pathogens getting into the eye. The best way to deal with this condition is curing the disease that triggered such an immune response.

Once you treat the disease, then you cure the hypopyon condition. However, if the condition persists then your physician will prescribe you some medication to reduce the inflammation and treat the condition.

However, there are few cases where the medication fails to treat this condition. In such instances, the doctor will need to use the corneal scrapping method to determine the cause of this condition. Once the doctor discovers the exact cause of the condition, he/she can put you on the right treatment schedule.

When the above methods do not work then the doctor results in a corneal transplant to help treat the condition. However, this is one of the rare case treatment.

If hypopyon is not treated earlier, there can be adverse effects like glaucoma, retinal detachment, visual impairment, and cataract formation. When this condition develops, ensure you visit your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

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