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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

What Is It?

Endophthalmitis is an inflammation of the inside of the eye. Inflammation affects the vitreous fluid in center of the eye. Vitreous fluid is a clear, gel-like substance. The inflammation can extend to surrounding tissues responsible for vision. Endophthalmitis is rare.

In most cases, an infection triggers this inflammation. The infection can be caused by:

  • Bacteria

  • Fungi

  • Viruses

  • Parasites

In the United States, most cases result from bacterial infections that follow eye surgery. For example, the condition may follow a procedure to treat cataracts or glaucoma. Bacteria also can enter the eye through an injury that pierces the eye.

Less often, an infection from elsewhere in the body can travel to the eye through the blood.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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