Conjunctivitis or "Pink Eye"

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they're more visible. This is what causes the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink. Conjunctivitis is a common eye disease, especially in children. It may affect one or both eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis can be highly contagious and easily spread in schools and at home.

The three types of conjunctivitis:

Bacterial conjunctivitis- This is a highly contagious form of pink eye caused by bacterial infections. This type of conjunctivitis usually causes a red eye with a lot of pus. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eyedrops as pink eye treatment if it is bacterial conjuctivitis, and the infection should go away within several days. Antibiotic eye ointment, in place of eyedrops, is sometimes prescribed for treating bacterial pink eye in children.

Viral conjunctivitis-The most common cause of pink eye is the same virus that causes the common cold, and is also very contagious. There is no treatment for most cases of viral conjunctivitis. Instead, the virus needs time to run its course — up to two or three weeks.

Allergic Conjunctivitis-This form of conjunctivitis is caused by the body's reaction to an allergen or irritant. It is not contagious. If the irritation is allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe one of many different types of eyedrops for people with allergies.

Conjunctivitis Symptoms:

  • A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Discharge
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Pink discoloration to the whites the eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light

Practice good hygiene to control the spread of pink eye. For instance:

  • Avoid touching your eyes with your hands
  • Wash your hands often
  • Use a clean towel and washcloth daily
  • Do not share towels or washcloths
  • Wash your bedding regularly
  • Throw away your eye cosmetics, such as mascara
  • Do not share eye cosmetics

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