What is Pink Eye?
Pink eye is an inflammation of the clear membrane that lines the eyelids and the eyeball. This membrane is known as the conjunctiva. As the conjunctiva becomes inflamed and irritated, the little blood vessels become more visible. This explains why the whites of the eyes appear pink or crimson. Pink eye is also known as conjunctivitis.
Pink eye is most commonly caused by a viral illness. In addition, bacterial infections, allergic reactions, and partially opening tear ducts in infants might all be the reason. Though pink eyes might be bothersome, it rarely impairs your eyesight.
Infections, either viral or bacterial, or an allergic reaction, are major causes of the disease. It can also be triggered by irritants such as air pollution, tobacco, and cosmetics. Pink eye can also be caused by an incompletely open tear duct in newborns. Conjunctivitis can also be caused by sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Pink eye is transferred through hand-to-eye contact or contact with contaminated materials. Coughing and sneezing can also spread viral and bacterial conjunctivitis through the air.
There are various types of conjunctivitis, each with its cause. The following are some of the more prevalent types:
- Infectious Conjunctivitis – Infectious conjunctivitis is caused by either a bacterial or, more usually, a viral infection. It spreads from person to person quite quickly.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis – This type happens when the eyes are exposed to a trigger or allergen that induces an allergic reaction and is more common in those who have allergies.
- Irritant or Chemical Conjunctivitis – This kind of pink eye is caused by irritations to the eyes from the environment. These include things like soap, cleaning supplies, hairspray, cosmetics, car exhaust, smoking, air pollution, and chlorine from swimming pools.
- Ophthalmia Neonatorum – Newborns are susceptible to this severe case of bacterial conjunctivitis. It is brought on by exposure to chlamydia and gonorrhea in the birth canal.
- Redness in one or both eyes
- Irritation or itchiness in one or both eyes
- Light sensitivity, often known as photophobia
- Discharge from the eye/s that hardens into a crusty film overnight. This makes opening one’s eyes in the morning difficult.
- Stiffness in the eyes
- Teary eyes Source
- Interaction with someone who has a viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis
- Exposure to something to which you are allergic causes allergic conjunctivitis.
- Wearing contact lenses, particularly extended-wear lenses
Your ophthalmologist or pediatrician will examine your eyes or the eyes of your child. Pink eye is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms and medical history. You can examine your vision with an acuity test (eye chart test).
In rare cases, your provider may take a culture of the liquid draining from your eye for laboratory investigation. If your symptoms are severe or your provider detects a high-risk cause, such as:
- A foreign body in your eye.
- A serious bacterial infection.
- A sexually transmitted infection.
Pink eye treatment is typically aimed at symptom relief. Your provider may advise you to:
- Using artificial tears.
- Cleaning your eyelids with a wet cloth.
- Using cold or warm compresses many times a day
In most circumstances, antibiotic eye drops are not required. Antibiotics will not help because conjunctivitis is usually caused by a virus. If your viral conjunctivitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus, antiviral medications may be an option.
Consume only boiled water and home-cooked food.
- If you have been nearby or have shaken hands with one or more people, avoid touching your eyes.
- Hands should be washed and sanitized at regular times throughout the day.
- Share no napkins, handkerchiefs, or towels.
- Only use prescription medications or eye drops. Self-medication can be hazardous and might cause your healing to be delayed or hampered.
- In Newborns: The eyes of newborns are at risk from bacteria found in the mother’s birth canal. These germs frequently do not affect the mother. In some situations, these bacteria can cause children to develop ophthalmia neonatorum, a dangerous form of conjunctivitis that requires rapid treatment to protect sight.