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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Definition of “Pink Eye”
Conjunctivitis is also nicknamed “Pink eye.“ In India it is also known as the Madras eye as madras also describes a bloody red color. Medically pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin, clear membrane that lubricates the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye that is also known as the sclera.
The infection causes the blood vessels in the eye to dilate and engorge with blood and the result is a red or pink color. Rarely the eye discharges pus or fluid but usually the vision remains normal and the sufferer only experiences mild irritation.
It is a milder disorder that does not do corneal damage. It looks more serious than it is as the eyes can become extremely red thanks to swollen blood vessels. It does not lead to eye damage or loss of vision.
Some forms of conjunctivitis can be extremely contagious. It means not being able to attend school or work. You should also not share bed linens or towels if you have conjunctivitis.
This is a common problem that affects fifteen to twenty percent of the world’s population. It is because it is so contagious.
The conjunctiva is the thin, clear membrane that lubricates the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye that is also known as the sclera.
Type of Conjunctivitis
The three most common types of conjunctivitis are bacterial, viral and allergic.
Viral conjunctivitis is severe and can take several weeks to get rid of. Typically it starts in one eye and migrates to another. It is caused by contagious viruses. Respiratory problems can accompany conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva is the thin, clear membrane that lubricates the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye that is also known as the sclera. Contaminated ophthalmic instruments can also spread this type of conjunctivitis.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is the less severe and is caused by pyogenic bacteria such as staphylococcus and streptococcus. Pyogenic bacteria produce pus. It is found everywhere – on your body, on objects and on other people and animals. Contaminated cosmetics may also cause this type of conjunctivitis. The inflammation begins in one eye and easily travels to the other eye.
Allergic conjunctivitis usually affects those with allergies and worsens during Spring or Fall. Occurs. The allergens causing this problem may be seasonal or perennial. Common allergens are the protein deposits on your contact lenses, cosmetics, pollen or drugs. Allergic conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes simultaneously.
The Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
Itching, redness, irritation and excessive watering are symptoms of all forms of conjunctivitis.
Viral conjunctivitis can come in tandem with a sore throat or respiratory problem. In viral conjunctivitis, the eyes appear more pink than red.
Bacterial conjunctivitis produces a discharge that may cause the two eyelids to stick together as if they were glued. It may be difficult to open the eyes after sleeping. The person may also feel like they have something in their eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis looks worse than it is -- the eye looks bright beet red.
Allergic conjunctivitis can be very itchy and uncomfortable. The eyelids are often swollen but they don’t always turn red.
The Treatment of Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis needs to be treated by an eye care professional or a doctor. The eye may be examined under a slit lamp microscope. Sometimes cultures are taken to find out the type of bacteria causing the type of infection that your eye has.
Viral conjunctivitis has no cure and must be waited out until it resolves itself. Cool compresses and artificial tears are used to relieve discomfort. In serious cases, topical steroids may be prescribed. Viral conjunctivitis typically takes about three weeks to go away.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is easily cured in a few days through the use of eye drops or ointments that contain broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Allergic conjunctivitis is relieves symptomatically by cool compresses and artificial tears. In more serious, cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be used. For the worst cases, topical steroids drops may be used to relieve discomfort and swelling.
There are steps you can take to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. Avoid physical contact with the person that has it. Avoid sharing towels and bed linen, use tissues instead of handkerchiefs, wash your hands frequently and disinfect anything that is touched by the person with it. A person with conjunctivitis should also avoid going swimming and using public restrooms.