Pink Eye AKA Conjunctivitis, Causes and symptoms and what to do about it.
Pink Eye also known as Conjunctivitis is a inflammation or infection of the front surface of the eye and or eyelids causing irritated red eyes.
The Conjunctiva of the eye is a thin clear layer or membrane that encapsulates the white part of your eye (the sclera). The Conjunctiva has tiny blood vessels running throughout it when they become inflamed they are more visible and make your white eyes appear reddish pink.
The three main causes of conjunctivitis are:
Viral: This type is caused by a virus similar to the common cold. It is highly contagious however it is self resolving (require time to correct itself) within 1 week.
Bacterial: This type of conjunctivitis is serious! It can lead to Permanent vision loss if left untreated. It is a common cause of infection in Contact lens over wearers.
Allergies: Pollen, dust, animal dander, if you have that season when your nose goes haywire then you know what I’m talking about. This type of conjunctivitis may be seasonal or it can flare up year round depending on your sensitivity.
Although the term conjunctivitis and pink eye usually used interchangeably, many Optometrists use the term pink eye to refer to viral conjunctivitis.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis:
Along with that reddish pink appearance to the white (sclera) of the eye, other signs are as follows:
-Viral conjunctivitis: Watery, itchy eyes; sensitivity to light. Highly contagious; spreads by touch, coughing or sneezing! Avoid touching the red eye and then your other eye although it will most likely spread to both eyes.
-Bacterial conjunctivitis: Yellow or green discharge, eyes stuck completely shut in morning. One or both eyes can be affected at time. Also very contagious through direct contact (avoid contact with hands or items that have touched the eye.)
-Allergic Conjunctivitis: Watery, itchy eyes. Usually nose is stuffed up or runny. Both eyes should experience the same affect. Not contagious.
It can be hard to determine the type of conjunctivitis you have by symptoms alone. Conjunctivitis can lead to very serious eye problems such as corneal ulcers, which can cause permanent vision loss as a result.
For this reason it is important that anytime you develop red or irritated eyes, schedule a visit with your local optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible to ensure prompt treatment. Wash your hands and avoid heavy eye rubbing. Stay safe and stay healthy.