Have you ever had pink eye?
Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a very common disease characterized by redness in the whites of the eyes, itchiness, and either watery or thick discharge. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the outer layer of tissue covering the surface of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids. The condition is common but also easy to prevent and treat. Let’s go over the different types and causes of pink eye.
Bacterial Versus Viral Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis comes in viral and bacterial forms, both highly contagious, though the symptoms and treatments differ. Bacterial conjunctivitis is easy to spot from the thick greenish-yellow secretions. It typically begins in one eye before spreading to the other over a few days. Other people can also catch it through direct contact. It can usually be quickly cleared up with prescribed antibiotics.
The viral form involves watery discharge and lasts longer than the bacterial form. Antibiotics won’t do anything for it, but you can relieve the swelling and irritation until the inflammation subsides with warm compresses. It usually goes away on its own, but until then, it’s even more contagious than the bacterial form because you can spread it by sneezing or coughing.
Could It Just Be Allergies?
Another way our eyes can become inflamed is through allergies. If your red, itchy eyes result from allergies, you can take allergy medications or avoid the allergens in question. Contacts-wearers are susceptible to a form of the pink eye called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. They may be allergic to cleaning solutions, or they may not be removing and cleaning their contact lenses often enough. Make sure to follow the care and cleaning instructions on the packaging!
Another way to develop conjunctivitis symptoms is through exposure to harsh chemicals, chlorine in swimming pools, or even pollution. The best way to deal with this kind of inflammation is to flush your eyes thoroughly with cool, clean water for several minutes. If the symptoms continue, seek medical attention.
Tips for Preventing Pink Eye
As treatable as conjunctivitis is, it’s better to minimize the risk of getting it in the first place. Here are a few ways to protect your eyes from infections like a pink eye:
Thorough and regular hand-washing
Aiming sneezes and coughs into your armpit instead of your hands
Not rubbing or touching your eyes
NEVER share contact lens solution, the contact lenses themselves, or eye makeup
Following all instructions for replacing and caring for contact lenses
Taking contacts out before swimming
Come to Us With Pink Eye Symptoms
If you or a family member have been experiencing pink eye symptoms or have questions about the condition, get in touch with us. We can set up an appointment to determine what the problem is and recommend the best treatment if treatment is needed.