What is Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)?

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an infection of the outer layer of the eye, the conjunctiva.
The conjunctiva produces mucus that lubricates and protects the surface of the eye. This membrane is made up of tiny blood vessels and when they become irritated the eye becomes red.

Causes of Conjunctivitis

The three most common causes of conjunctivitis are: viral, allergic and bacterial. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be very contagious.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is often caused through bacteria passed from the hands to the eyes, this is very common in children.

Viral conjunctivitis can occur with colds, sore throats and flu.

Allergic conjunctivitis is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as hay fever, eczema, asthma, teary eyes and sneezing. Antigens such as pollen, dust mites or cosmetics often cause this conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis

Symptoms include:

Pink/ red, watery eyes
Inflamed inner eyelids
A scratchy feeling to the eyes
Watery discharge
Sensitivity to light
Swelling of the eyelid

Depending on the cause, conjunctivitis will usually clear up between two days and two weeks. If conjunctivitis is caused by a seasonal allergy, it may continue throughout the season.

Treatment for Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis usually runs its course in one to two weeks. It does not respond to antibiotics. Artificial tears may also help relieve symptoms.

Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Symptoms will then generally clear within a few days, if not an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.

Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamine or steroid eye drops, but these should not usefor either bacterial or viral conjunctivitis.

Eye Treatments

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