Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a frequently encountered eye illness, particularly with kids. This condition can be caused by bacteria, viruses or even allergies to ingredients found in cosmetics, chlorine in swimming pools, and pollen, or other products, which penetrate your eyes. Many types of pink eye can be very contagious and quickly go around at school and in the office or home.
This kind of infection develops when the thin transparent layer of tissue over the white part of the eye, or conjunctiva, gets inflamed. You can recognize pink eye if you notice eye itching, redness, discharge or inflamed eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes in the morning. Symptoms of pink eye may occur in one or both eyes. The three main subtypes of conjunctivitis are: bacterial, viral and allergic conjunctivitis.
Viral conjunctivitis is usually caused by a similar virus to that which is the source of the familiar watery and red eyes, runny nose and sore throat of the common cold. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis will usually be present for seven to fourteen days and like other viruses cannot be treated with medication. You may however, be able to relieve some of the symptoms by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral conjunctivitis is transmittable until it's gone, so in the meantime wipe away any discharge and avoid sharing pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a common bacterial infection that gets into the eye usually from a foreign body such as a finger, makeup or lotion. This form of pink eye is usually treated with antibiotic cream or drops. You should notice an improvement within just a few days of treatment, but always be sure to finish the entire course of antibiotics to stop pink eye from returning.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. It occurs more commonly in individuals who already have seasonal allergies or allergies to substances such as pets or dust. The red, itchy, watery eyes may be just a small part of their overall allergic reaction. First of all, to treat allergic conjunctivitis, you need to remove the allergen. To ease discomfort, cool compresses and artificial tears may help. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor may decide to give you a prescription for an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. When the conjunctivitis lasts for an extended period, topical steroid eye drops might be used.
Conjunctivitis should always be checked out by an experienced eye doctor in order to determine the type and proper course of treatment. Don't ever self prescribe! Remember the earlier you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of spreading the infection to others or prolonging your discomfort.