What is Conjunctivitis or (Pink Eye)?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation, swelling or infection of the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a number of different bacteria, viruses, chemicals, allergies, and other agents.
The conjunctiva is the transparent membrane that covers over the white part of the eye called the sclera. The conjunctiva extends onto the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva has many blood vessels running through it. It contains different cells and some of those help provide a portion of the tear film for the eye.
Swelling of the eyelids
Mattering of the eyelids and lashes especially in the mornings
Redness of the conjunctiva
Sensitivity to light
Scratchy sensation or mild pain
Causes of Conjunctivitis
The bacteria most often associated with conjunctivitis include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and H. Influenza. Conjunctivitis can be very contagious especially among children.
A number of different viruses can cause conjunctivitis. Many times the same virus that causes a sore throat also is associated with conjunctivitis.
Exposure to chemicals can lead to conjunctivitis. Some people can have this happen from the preservatives in eye drops and some chemical contact lens cleaning solutions.
Allergies can also involve the eyes.
Fungi and Parasites
Eye examination is important as other things can cause a red inflamed eye. Laboratory cultures are not typically done to diagnose except in unusual cases. Most infections would be over by the time the results of the culture are available.
Treatment depends on the cause.
This is treated with antibiotic eye drops.
This will resolve on its own. Many times a doctor may treat it with drops for comfort reasons.
This is treated by eye drops medication for allergies. Cool compresses may help. Also finding out what is causing the allergy is useful.
Prevention is important for stopping its spread.
Careful washing of hands
Be careful with cosmetics especially mascara and replace on a regular basis
Be careful when handling contact lenses and be sure to clean your hands before touching the lens