Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
The conjunctiva is the clear mucous membrane that envelopes the rest of the eye. Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” is caused by the inflammation or irritation of the conjunctiva, and has a variety of forms with the same symptoms of red, itchy, and burning eyes and perhaps some secretion of discharge. Although it is normally clear, the conjunctiva houses all of the eye’s blood vessels, and so during any irritation these blood vessels swell, giving the eye its pinkish glow. It is important, to know what has caused your case of conjunctivitis to ensure that you have done all that you can to cure it. For a consultation, contact us today.
Unfortunately the most common type of conjunctivitis has no cure other than time. When pink eye is born of a virus it can clear in a matter of days, and it is contagious as long as symptoms persist. It can be passed very easily through any contact with the eye or through shared items like towels and toys.
It is important to maintain vigilant hand washing and to wash or disinfect anything that could serve as a conductor for the disease. It is this difficulty that makes pink eye rampant in day cares, schools, and college campuses.
Although viral conjunctivitis has no medicinal treatment, bacterial conjunctivitis can be cured with antibiotics, and it is for this reason that you should always talk to a healthcare professional when you think you have pink eye. After 24 hours from the first treatment you may return to your daily activities with no fear of spreading the infection, even if the eye has not been relieved of symptoms yet.
The other common form of pink eye is due to allergens or foreign bodies in the eye. For anybody with pollen allergies, this is nothing new. In this form conjunctivitis may cause extra tearing, your body’s natural attempt to dislodge foreign elements. Your doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops to help with this, or suggest eye washing procedures. This is not a contagious form of conjunctivitis.
Anybody can get pink eye, but newborns and children are the most common patients. Also people who wear contacts are more likely to get pink eye due to a improper cleaning of lenses or lenses that have been worn for too long. Some people with sensitive eyes may choose to uses a lens case that cleans and disinfects the lenses at night to prevent pink eye. It is always important to talk to your optometrist about pink eye to ensure that it is not just a symptom of a more serious eye condition.
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- A Handbook of the Diseases of the Eye and Their Treatment – Swanzy, Henry Rosborough
- Manual of the Diseases of the Eye – May, Charles Henry