Pink eye, otherwise known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most frequently encountered eye diseases, particularly when it comes to children. Pink eye can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergies to chlorine in pools, pollen, and ingredients found in cosmetics, or other substances, which touch the eyes. Some kinds of pink eye might be fairly contagious and quickly go around in schools and at the home.
This type of infection ensues when the thin clear layer of tissue protecting the white part of the eye, or conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. A sign that you have conjunctivitis is if you notice redness, itching, discharge, or swollen eyelids and eyes that are crusty early in the day. Symptoms of pink eye may occur in one or both eyes. The three main types of pink eye are: bacterial, allergic and viral conjunctivitis.
The viral manifestation is often caused by a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable watery and red eyes, runny nose and sore throat of the common cold. Symptoms of the viral form of conjunctivitis can last from seven to fourteen days and then will clear up on their own. To ease uncomfortable symptoms, compresses applied to the eyes will give you some relief. The viral form of pink eye is transmittable until it's gone, so in the meantime wipe away any discharge and avoid using communal towels or pillowcases. If your child has viral pink eye, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until it clears up.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a common bacterial infection that gets into the eye typically from an external source such as a finger, makeup or lotion. This form of infection is most often treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice the symptoms disappearing within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to finish the entire course of antibiotics to stop pink eye from coming back.
Pink eye caused by allergies is not transmittable. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as pollen, pet dander or smoke that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, when treating allergic pink eye, you have to eliminate the allergen. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to alleviate discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines might be prescribed. In cases of persistent allergic infections, topical steroid eye drops may be tried.
With any form conjunctivitis, making sure to practice sanitary habits is the best way to keep it from spreading. Clean your hands thoroughly and frequently and don't touch your eyes with your hands.
Even though pink eye is usually a highly treatable condition, there is sometimes a chance it could deteriorate into a more severe problem. If you think you have pink eye, be sure to schedule an appointment with your optometrist so he or she can see how to best to treat it.