Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a very common eye infection nowadays. It is the infection of the outermost layer of the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid.
There are several causes that can lead to a pink eye (bacterial, allergic contact, etc). In adults, viral causes are more common, while bacterial causes are more commonly seen in children.
What causes a pink eye?
1. Bacterial infections
2. Viral infections such as a common cold, or a sore throat can also lead to a pink eye.
3. Irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, and chlorine in the swimming pools.
4. Dust, pollen, or a special type of allergy that affects some contact lens wearers.
5.Contact dermatoconjuctivitis, from eyedrops, chemicals or make-up.
What are the common sign and symptoms?
1. The white area of the eye or inner eyelid becomes bloodshot red or pink.
2. Sticky discharge
3. Burning feeling in the eyes
4. Gritty feeling in the eyes
5. Eyelashes having a sticky coating first thing in the morning.
6. Enlarged ear lymph node (lymph gland).
7. Watery or running eyes
8. Blurred vision (in some cases)
9. Increased sensitivity to light
How to treat a pink eye?
Depending on the cause, pink eye/conjunctivitis can be managed in the following manner:
1. Pink eye caused by a viral infection usually requires no treatment. Applying a cold, wet washcloth to the eyes several times a day can provide symptom relief.
2. Using antibiotic eye drops several times in a day can treat pink eye caused by a bacterial infection. Make sure to visit a doctor before introducing any such medications to your eyes on your own.
3. If pink eye is caused by a foreign agent (dust, pollen, etc.), consider taking anti-allergic medicines. Ask your doctor before taking these medicines to avoid any allergy flare-ups.
How to prevent pink eye?
1. Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
2. Keep hands away from the infected eye or touching the eye discharge as well.
3. Avoid sharing towels, linens, and eye cosmetics.
4. Wash pillows and face cloths in hot water and detergent to avoid the spread of infection.
5. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes.
6. Infected patients should wear a protective eyewear till the infection subsides.
7. Those who wear contact lenses should be instructed to discontinue lens wear until signs and symptoms have resolved.
8. Using artificial tear drops may help relieve itching and burning from the irritating substances that cause conjunctivitis.
Prevention is always better than cure! Protect your eyes! Live Healthily!