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Pink Eye

Pink Eye

April 9, 2024
Pink Eye

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a clear membrane that lines the eyeball and eyelid. When the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become irritated and swell, they become more visible. This is why the whites of the eyes seem reddish or pink. 

You can get pink eye in one or both eyes.

What causes pink eye?

Pink eye can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Viruses: Most cases of pink eye are caused by adenovirus.  Although it can also be caused by other viruses such as varicella-zoster virusand herpes simplex virus. The virus can be spread through coughing, respiratory droplets, or sneezing.
  • Bacteria: Bacterial conjunctivitis is less common than viral conjunctivitis but can cause more severe symptoms. Common types of bacteria include S. aureus, H. influenza, S. pneumonia, and P. aeruginosa. 

Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be accompanied by colds and sore throats. Both are contagious. 

  • Allergens: Allergens may include pollen, molds, and substances that cause allergic reactions.
  • Irritants: Irritants like cosmetics, smoke, pool chlorine, or foreign bodies in the eye can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to conjunctivitis. Symptoms, which may include watery eyes and mucus discharge, typically resolve on their own within a day.

What are the symptoms of pink eye?

Symptoms include:

  • Redness or pinkness in the eye or eyes
  • Discharge from the eye that may be watery or thick and sticky
  • Itchy sensation in the eye
  • Crusty eyelashes or eyelids, especially after sleeping
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Tearing or increased tear production

Is pink eye contagious?

Yes, pink eye is highly contagious, especially if it is caused by viruses or bacteria. It is essential to take precautions to prevent the spread of the infection.

Pink eyes caused by allergens and irritants are not contagious.

How can you catch the pink eye?

Pink eye is very contagious. It can be transmitted through direct or indirect contact with infected individuals or contaminated materials. Here are some ways to get pink eye. 

·      Rubbing an infected eye and then contacting another person’s eye or face. 

·      Sharing pillows, towels, or other items with an infected individual. 

·      Exposure to respiratory droplets from sick individuals who sneeze or cough. 

·      Using unclean hands to touch the eyes after coming into contact with the virus or bacteria.

How long does pink eye last?

Typically, viral conjunctivitis is mild, resolving within 7 to 14 days without treatment and no lasting effects. However, pink eye caused by bacteria, may persist for 2 to 3 weeks or longer and a week with proper treatment. Allergic conjunctivitis can last as long as the allergen is present.

How is pink eye treated and prevented?

Treatment for pink eye depends on the cause. 

·      Antibiotics may be prescribed for bacterial conjunctivitis.

·      Antihistamines, decongestants, or anti-inflammatory drugs. for allergic conjunctivitis.

Viral conjunctivitis usually resolves on its own within a few weeks.

To prevent the spread of pink eye, it is essential to practice good hygiene, such as:

·      avoiding rubbing or touching the infected eye

·      washing your hands frequently

·      avoiding contact with infected persons

If you experience symptoms of pink eye, you should consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Pink eye is typically not a serious condition, and it’s easily treated and prevented. Unless the condition is severe, the pink eye usually goes away on its own. To avoid spreading pink eye or having a recurrence, it is critical to take the required precautions. If you have issues,

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