The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white of the eye.
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can be either infectious or allergic. Infectious type caused by by viruses or bacteria. Viruses that cause colds may lead to conjunctivitis. Some bacteria that cause conjunctivitis are chlamydia, staphylococci, and streptococci.
Allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction on the surface of the eyes. It is a very common condition that occurs when your eyes come in contact with allergens. Pollen, cat dander, and smoke are examples of allergens
Pink eye can be very contagious. The affected person should stay home from work or school until the eye is better. Washing hands is a simple action to prevent it from spreading.
Severe conjunctivitis, such as that caused by the bacteria that cause gonorrhea, is rare, but it can cause blindness.
Infectious conjunctivitis, whether bacterial or viral, can be quite contagious. Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis.
Viral infection is the most common cause of conjunctivitis. The same virus produces the symptoms of a common cold. Symptoms of conjunctivitis can last from one to two weeks and then will disappear on their own.
Bacterial infections, such as staphylococcus or streptococcus, cause a type of conjunctivitis that produces considerable amounts of pus. Some bacterial infections, however, are more chronic and may produce little or no discharge except for some
Practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis if you are infected. You should avoid re-using handkerchiefs and towels to wipe your face and eyes. You should wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your eyes. Properly clean your contact lenses and replace any eye cosmetics regularly.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. It occurs when the body is exposed to materials that cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen.
Itchy or scratchy eyes, redness , sensitivity to light, swelling of eyelids , matting of eyelashes , watery discharge and discharge of pus are the symptoms of the infectious conjunctivitis.
Itchy eyes, watering eyes, red eyes and eyelid swelling are the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Sometimes skin around the eyes is red and scaly. Many people have more severe symptoms in certain seasons such as the spring or fall.
Conjunctivitis is diagnosed with a thorough eye exam. The doctor uses a microscope with a light attached, called a slit lamp microscope, that allows a close look at your eye under high magnification.
The doctor may take a sample of your eye discharge for analysis to determine what form of infection you have. A more extensive physical examination may be required to search for other causes of conjunctivitis.
The treatment for pink eye depends upon the particular underlying cause.
If it is a bacterial infection antibiotic eyedrops or ointment is prescribed which should clear the infection within several days.
There is no treatment for viral conjunctivitis. It will take 7-10 days to go away on its own.
Allergic conjunctivitis may respond to treatment for the underlying allergies. If the conjunctivitis is caused by allergies, irritants, or a virus, you can use cool compresses on the eyes and artificial tears to reduce discomfort. If your condition is severe, your doctor may prescribe topical steroid to reduce the discomfort from inflammation. In severe allergic cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed.
If symptoms persist for an extended period of time after treatment, you should tell your doctor. Several eye diseases cause red eyes, some of which can lead to blindness unless diagnosed and treated.