Overview of conjunctivitis or pink eye
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” is an infection or swelling in the outer membrane of your eyeball.
Blood vessels in your conjunctiva, a thin membrane that lines part of your eye, become inflamed. This gives your eye the red or pink colour that’s commonly associated with conjunctivitis.
What are the types of conjunctivitis?
There are three distinct sorts of conjunctivitis, contingent upon the reason.
- Chemical or irritant conjunctivitis: If something irritates the eye, it can become inflamed and painful. The irritant could be wrongly directed eyelashes in the eyes, or chlorine after swimming in a pool.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: This occurs when an allergen, such as dust mites, pollen, or animal fur, comes into contact with the eye. Allergens cause the body’s immune system to overreact, causing irritation and inflammation.
- Infective conjunctivitis: Micro-organisms or infections cause contamination, making the eyes red, pink, and watery. There could be a sticky coating on the eyelashes and mucus in the eye.
What are the symptoms of pinkeye?
It depends on the cause of the inflammation, but it may include:
- Redness of the white of the eye or the inner eyelid
- Swollen conjunctive
- More tears than usual
- Thick yellow secretions peel off over the eyelashes, especially after sleep. It can make your eyelids sticky when you wake up.
- Green or white discharge from the eye.
- Itchy eyes
- Burning eyes
- Blurred vision
- More sensitive to light
- Swollen lymph nodes (regularly because of a viral disease).
What causes pink eye?
The most common causes of pink eye are:
Viruses or bacteria
Bacterial conjunctivitis is most often caused by the same type of bacteria that cause strep throat and staph infections. Pink eye caused by a virus, on the other hand, is usually the result of one of the viruses that cause the common cold.
Whatever the cause, viral and bacterial pink eye is considered highly contagious. It can easily be transmitted from one person to another simply by hand contact.
Allergens, such as pollen, can cause pink eye in one or both of your eyes.
Allergens stimulate your body to create more histamines, which cause inflammation as a part of your body’s response to what it thinks is an infection. In turn, this causes allergic conjunctivitis. It is usually itchy.
You also need to be careful if a foreign substance or chemical gets in your eyes. Chemicals like chlorine, found in backyard swimming pools, can cause pink eye. Rinsing your eyes with water is a simple and effective way to prevent irritating chemicals from causing pink eye.
How is pink eye diagnosed?
It’s not hard for your healthcare provider to diagnose pink eye. They’ll be able to tell if you have pink eye simply by asking you a few questions and looking at your eyes.
For example, they might ask you if your eyes are itchy and whether you have watery or thick discharge. They might also ask if you’re experiencing symptoms of a common cold, hay fever, or asthma.
If necessary, they might take a tear or fluid sample from your conjunctiva and send it to a lab for further analysis.
Complications of pink eye
In both children and adults, pink eye can cause inflammation in the cornea that can affect vision. Prompt evaluation and treatment by your doctor for eye pain, a feeling that something is stuck in your eye, blurred vision or light sensitivity can reduce the risk of complications.
Treatment of pink eye
As you would expect, the treatment for pink eye will depend on the type of conjunctivitis you have:
- Viral conjunctivitis treatment: In most cases, viral conjunctivitis continues its course over several days and no medical treatment is required. Applying an infection wet towel to the eyes a couple of times every day can ease the appearances of viral conjunctivitis.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis treatment: Your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments to treat this eye disease.
- Allergic conjunctivitis treatment: Allergy medications often help prevent or shorten episodes.
It is often difficult to determine the type of conjunctivitis you have from symptoms alone (or if other eye conditions or health conditions are causing the symptoms). Conditions associated with conjunctivitis include dry eyes. Also, this can sometimes lead to very serious eye problems that may lead to permanent vision loss.
Risk factors for pink eye include:
- Exposure to something for which you have an allergy (allergic conjunctivitis).
- Exposure to someone infected with the viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis.
- Using contact lenses, especially extended-wear lenses.
How can someone prevent the spread of pinkeye?
Infectious forms of Pinkie are highly contagious and spread through direct contact with infected people. If someone has contagious rosacea, avoid touching the eye area and wash hands frequently, especially after applying medications to the eye area. Never share towels or napkins, and throw away the napkins after each use. Disinfecting surfaces such as countertops, sinks, and door handles can also help prevent the spread of pinky infection.