STI rates are on the rise in Britain — but not everyone knows how to spot the signs of infection.
Common symptoms like burning when you pee or itchiness around your privates tend to be more well known.
Pharmacists have revealed the symptoms in your eyes that could indicate you have an STI
However, changes to your eyes could also indicate you are carrying an infection.
Abbas Kanani, of Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, said: “Eye pain and redness is usually one of the initial first signs.
“However, because this is common and can be down to a number of different reasons, it can be easily overlooked.”
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Britain.
Most people don’t experience any symptoms, putting them risk of serious long-term health problems, including infertility.
Mr Kanani said you can sometimes spot an infection by looking for changes to your eyes.
He said: “Irritation, pain, swelling and discharge, which usually affects one eye only, could be signs of chlamydia in the eye.
“It occurs when chlamydia trachomatis — the bacteria that causes the infection — makes direct contact with the mucous membrane — the wet part of the eye.
“It is also known as chlamydia conjunctivitis, or ocular chlamydia. Symptoms of early-stage chlamydia eye infections can be slow to develop.”
Chlamydia can be diagnosed with a urine test or swabbing the affected area and is easily treated with antibiotics.
Mr Kanani said: “Chlamydia in the eye is contagious. It is easily spread through genital fluid to eye contact, or even eye to eye contact.
“Doxycycline is the first line treatment, as it is more effective. Tablets are usually taken orally.
“It is important to have an accurate diagnosis, because using eye drops for standard eye infections, not caused by chlamydia, will not help and can delay the recovery timeframe”.
“It is important to finish any course of antibiotics that you are prescribed, to ensure the infection is completely treated. Most cases clear up within a few weeks.”
Gonorrhoea — or “the clap” — is another common infection that can cause symptoms in the eyes.
A record 82,592 Brits were diagnosed last year, up 50.3 per cent on 2021, when rates of all STIs fell because of Covid restrictions.
The infection is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Mr Kanani said: “Both men and women can develop an infection, not only in the eyes, but also in the rectum or throat by having unprotected anal or oral sex.
“Adults can transmit it if their eyes come in contact with infected fluids.”
Infections can also cause sensitivity to light, as well as a pus-like discharge from one or both eyes.
Gonococcal conjunctivitis is pink eye that develops due to a gonorrhoea infection.
It can also cause swelling of the inner linings of your eyelids — known as chemosis — sensitivity to touch or pressure on your eyes and fluid buildup around your eyelids
Swelling of the lymph nodes near your eyes are another sign.
Another STI that hit record levels last year is syphilis.
Infections increased to 8,629 in 2022, up 15.2 per cent on 2021 and 8.1 per cent on 2019, before the Covid pandemic.
Although rare, if left untreated ocular syphilis can lead to decreased visual acuity including permanent blindness.
Mr Kanani said: “If you notice floating spots in the field of vision, sensitivity to light and changes in vision such as blurry vision, this may be an indication that you have contracted ocular syphilis.
“If you think you may have an STI, including in the eye, you should seek treatment as soon as possible and inform recent sexual partners so that they can test too.”