Conjunctivitis or “pink eye” is the swelling of the conjunctiva, the layer of tissue inside of the eyelid. It is either caused by a bacterial or viral infection. It can easily be distinguished by its redness and discharge which may result into other symptoms. Treatments may vary according to its cause.
Causes All ages are at risk. But mostly, the infectious type of conjunctivitis are common to children. The bacteria or virus may easily spread from children to other children when they are playing. Conjunctivitis may also trigger ear infections and sinusitis. The neonatal type or a conjunctivitis of a three weeks old baby is caused by infection contracted during birth. The non-infectious type, on the other hand, is only caused by allergens, chemical and environmental factors. You should have your child’s checked frequently by eye exams Pittsburgh.The general causes of allergic conjunctivitis are animal dandruff, dust and seasonal pollens. The chemical forms of conjunctivitis are caused by irritation from a substance in the air entering the eyes such as chemical sprays, smoke, smog, household cleaners and industrial pollutants. Persistent conjunctivitis may be associated with present diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Symptoms and diagnosis
To diagnose conjunctivitis, doctors base on the patient’s signs and symptoms. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Infectious conjunctivitis Generally, the main feature of this kind of conjunctivitis an excessive mucus-like discharge. The fluid is usually yellow or green, and the eye is intensely red. It may also include nasal congestion and runny nose. An infected person may experience swelling of the eyes. Additionally, the eyelids are stuck together in the morning, eyes become sensitive to bright light and the lymph nodes next to the ear become enlarged. A bacterial conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes while the viral type affects just either of both eyes.
- Non-infectious conjunctivitis
- In this type of conjunctivitis, the most common symptoms are intense itching and tearing. Usually, itchiness gets worse when rubbed. Symptoms also include sneezing, itchy nose and throat. Unlike the infectious type, swelling is rarely experienced.
Treatment Babies with symptoms of conjunctivitis must be taken to a doctor immediately because it can be highly contagious. If a person wearing contact lenses develops symptoms of conjunctivitis, he must stop wearing it and see a doctor as soon as possible since he has higher risk of keratitis, an inflamed cornea, which may result in permanent damage of the eyes.
The best prevention an individual can do is to maintain a good personal and household hygiene:
- Do not associate with people who have conjunctivitis
- Do not rub your eyes
- Use your contact lenses correctly
- Always wash your hands and use paper towels when drying your hands
- Wash your pillow cases regularly
- Do not share eye drops, facecloths, towels, ointments and pillow slips, these are your personal items
Now we understand conjunctivitis or “pink eye”. It is an eye condition that needs to be addressed. While it is true that we can always seek the help of eye doctors whenever we experience eye problems, it is still best to practice good hygiene to prevent infection.