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Sources of Fungal Eye Infections

Fungal eye infections can’t spread from person to person.

The most common way for someone to get a fungal eye infection is as a result of an eye injury, particularly if the injury was caused by plant material such as a stick or a thorn.1 Some fungi that cause eye infections, such as Fusarium, live in the environment, often association with plant material, and fungi can enter the eye and cause infection after an injury.

Less often, infection can occur after eye surgery or another type of invasive eye procedure such as an injection. Some fungal eye infections have been traced to contaminated medical products such as contact lens solution,2 irrigation solution3 and dye4 used during eye surgery, or corticosteroids injected directly into the eye.4 Rarely, fungal eye infections can happen after a fungal bloodstream infection such as candidemia spreads to the eye.5


  1. Thomas PA, Kaliamurthy J. Mycotic keratitis: epidemiology, diagnosis and management. Clin Microbiol Infect 2013;19:210-20.
  2. Chang DC, Grant GB, O'Donnell K, et al. Multistate outbreak of Fusarium keratitis associated with use of a contact lens solution. JAMA 2006;296:953-63.
  3. McCray E, Rampell N, Solomon SL, Bond WW, Martone WJ, O'Day D. Outbreak of Candida parapsilosis endophthalmitis after cataract extraction and intraocular lens implantation. J Clin Microbiol 1986;24:625-8.
  4. Mikosz CA, Smith RM, Kim M, et al. Fungal endophthalmitis associated with compounded products. Emerg Infect Dis 2014;20:248-56.
  5. Oude Lashof AM, Rothova A, Sobel JD, Ruhnke M, Pappas PG, Viscoli C, et al. Ocular manifestations of candidemia. Clin Infect Dis 2011;53(3):262-8.