What is it?
Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as “pink eye,” is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a very thin, transparent tissue that covers the white part of your eye. It is highly contagious and more common in children than adults.
How does it happen?
There are three basic types of conjunctivitis, all caused by different sources. These types are:
- Viral Conjunctivitis: This type is caused by a virus, even something as simple as the common cold.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis: This is caused by bacteria in the eye, which can be serious if not treated. (Certain STDs, such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea can be to blame)
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: This is the result of an irritation caused by an allergy to something like pollen or pet dander.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of conjunctivitis can differ based on the type. Symptoms may include any or all of the following:
- Redness of the eye
- Itchy, burning, or painful eye
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Increased tear production
- Green or white discharge
- Thick, yellow discharge that may crust over the eyelashes (especially after sleeping)
What are my risk factors?
Children are especially at risk, as their hygiene practices are not usually up to par. If you have a bacterial infection, virus, or sensitive allergies, you may be at a greater risk of developing conjunctivitis. If you wear contact lenses, you may be at a greater risk as well.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Your eye doctor will conduct an exam and analyze the fluid present to determine the cause of the inflammation.
The treatment method will depend on the type of conjunctivitis present. For example:
- Bacterial conjunctivitis should be treated with antibiotics applied as eye drops or ointment.
- Viral conjunctivitis typically just has to run its course. Keeping the affected eye clean and not wearing contact lenses/makeup can help reduce irritation.
- Allergic conjunctivitis should start improving once the allergy has been treated and you are no longer exposed to the allergen.
How can I prevent it from happening?
Practicing good hygiene is the most important practice to prevent conjunctivitis from occurring. Try to do the following:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Change your towels frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes with your hands
- Do not share makΩeup, towels, contact lenses
- Discard old makeup
- Follow the correct procedures for cleaning your contact lenses
If you are experiencing similar symptoms to conjunctivitis, contact us today.