Pink eye is one of the most common & treatable eye infections in adults & children. Pink eye is also known as conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. This blog will go over Pink Eye facts.
The inflammation of the infection can cause a pink or reddish appearance of the eye. The affected eye(s) may be painful, itchy or have a burning sensation. The eyes can also tear or have a discharge that forms a crust during sleep causing the eyes to be “stuck shut” in the morning. Other symptoms include:
- It could feel like you have something stuck in your eye.
- Sensitivity to bright light.
- Enlarged or tender lymph glands near the year.
- Contact lenses are uncomfortable or won’t stay in.
There are 4 causes of Pink Eye:
- Allergic conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies to pollen, dust mites, molds, or animal dander.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by infection of the eye with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumonia, or Haemophilus. It is a common reason for children to stay home sick from day care or school.
- Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a wide variety of viruses, but adenovirus and herpesvirus are the most common viruses that cause pink eye. Viral conjunctivitis may also occur along with an upper respiratory tract infection, cold, or sore throat.
- Irritants such as contact lenses and lens solutions, chlorine in a swimming pool, smog or cosmetics may also be an underlying cause of conjunctivitis.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Pink Eye includes:
Pink Eye is diagnosed by a medical professional who will go over the patients history and can determine they type of pink eye by the patient’s symptoms.
- Viral conjunctivitis is often diagnosed based on a person’s history and symptoms. It tends to occur in both eyes and often accompanies a common cold or respiratory tract infection. Most cases of viral conjunctivitis are mild and will clear up in 7–14 days without treatment and without any long-term consequences. In some cases, however, viral conjunctivitis can take two or more weeks to resolve, especially if complications arise.
- Allergic conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis caused by an allergy usually improves by eliminating or significantly reducing contact with the allergen (such as pollen or animal dander). Allergy medications and certain eye drops can also provide relief.
- Irritant caused pink eye by eliminating the irritant. If you develop conjunctivitis and you wear contacts, stop using them temporarily until the conjunctivitis resolves. In some cases, your healthcare provider may also prescribe drug treatments to improve symptoms.
- Mild bacterial conjunctivitis may get better without antibiotic treatment and without causing any severe complications. Antibiotics can help shorten the illness and reduce the spread of infection to others. Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment, which should resolve the infection within several days.
Viral & bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious but can be prevented by following these recommendations:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. And wash up immediately if you’ve touched an affected person’s eyes, linens or clothes (for example, when caring for a child who has pink eye). If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
- If you have conjunctivitis, wash any discharge from around the eyes several times a day.
- Do not use the same eye drop dispenser/bottle for infected and non-infected eyes—even for the same person.
- Avoid sharing articles like towels, blankets, and pillowcases.
- Clean your eyeglasses.
- Clean, store, and replace your contact lenses as instructed by your eye health professional.
- Do not share eye makeup, face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses or containers, or eyeglasses.
**Information for this article came from the National Eye Institute