Conjunctivitis or the Pink eye, one of the most common conditions of the eye may be caused by allergy, infection or chemical irritants. Although easily treatable, proper diagnosis and treatment is a must for good health of the eyes. By maintaining basic eye hygiene and personal hygiene, conjunctivitis can be prevented effortlessly.
Do you have the Pink eye?
Although all of us have probably experienced Conjunctivitis at least once since birth, few of us know what causes it. Commonly called as the Pink Eye because of the white area inside the eye becoming pink when afflicted, Conjunctivitis is one of the most common conditions of the eye. People who are at places where there is close contact with other people such as school, day care centres, etc stand the risk of catching conjunctivitis.
When the thin filmy membrane that covers the inside of the eyelids called the conjunctiva and the white part of the eye called the sclera get inflamed or swollen, then that condition of the eyes is called Conjunctivitis. The eye appears pink or red owing to the blood vessels in the eye becoming larger and more conspicuous during conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis may be caused by viral infection, allergy or by chemical irritants.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis – This kind is common among people who are susceptible to allergies caused by dust, pollen, etc. When the eyes of a person who is allergic to these substances comes into contact with them by chance, it causes an allergic reaction in their eyes.
- Infectious Conjunctivitis – It may be Bacterial, which is caused by Bacteria or It may be Viral that is caused by the viruses associated with common cold. Opthalmia Neonatorum is also a kind of infectious Conjunctivitis which occurs in newborn babies.
- Chemical Conjunctivitis – This kind is caused by chemical irritants found in air, chlorinated swimming pools, etc.
The primary symptom of Conjunctivitis is the white area of the eye turning pink. Additional symptoms depend on the type of conjunctivitis. Viral Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and causes eyes to water and itch. Eyes may also become sensitive to light. In case of Bacterial Conjunctivitis, a sticky yellowish green discharge appears in the eye and sometimes causes the eyes to stick.
Diagnosis is very important in any case of eye infection and to determine the kind of Conjunctivitis and its severity. Comprehensive eye examination specially of the conjunctiva and sclera is required for diagnosis. Other important diagnosis factors include patient history in order to learn more about the general health of the patient and any environmental factors that may be causing the problem. Visual acuity measurements, evaluation of inner structures of the eye and supplemental testing taking smears of conjunctival tissues may also be done for diagnosis.
Quick treatment of Conjunctivitis is required to ease the pain, to reduce the inflammation and to prevent the spread of infection. Depending on the type of Conjunctivitis, various measures may be taken to treat it, which includes removing the irritant, cool compresses and application of ointments, antibiotic eye drops and topical steroid drops.
Prevention is always better than cure.
And conjunctivitis can be easily prevented by the following steps.
- Do not share personal items like wash cloths, makeup etc.
- Avoid rubbing eyes.
- Wear swimming goggles while in the pool to protect eyes from bacteria.
- Follow your Doctor’s instructions on lens care and replacement.
- Always maintain personal hygiene.