What is Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The most common type of eye infection is pink eye. Pink eye is also called conjunctivitis and is the inflammation of the conjunctiva (outermost layer of the eye and inner surface of eyelids) commonly because of allergies, or an infection.

Types of Conjunctivitis:

  • Blepharoconjunctivitis – Dual combination of conjunctivitis and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).
  • Keratoconjusctivitis – Dual combination of conjunctivitis and keratitis (corneal inflammation).
  • Episcleritis – Inflammatory condition that produces a similar appearance to conjunctivitis, without the tearing or any discharges.

What is Pink Eye

Common Symptoms:

  • Common symptoms of conjunctivitis include redness, irritation, and watering. Conjunctivitis is identified by irritation and redness of the eye.
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis is typically itchy, involving lid swelling, redness and irritation due to allergic reactions.
  • Viral conjunctivitis is often associated with and infection of the upper respiratory tract, a common cold and a sore throat. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include watery and itchy eyes that usually begins with one eye, sometimes spreading to the other.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis due to common pus producing bacteria causes irritation, with a stringy, grey or yellowish gunk type of eye crust. This may cause eyelids to stick together after sleeping. Feelings of grittiness and scratchy feelings inside the eye cause irritability and discomfort when eyes are open and moving.
  • Inclusion conjunctivitis of the newborn may be caused by the bacteria Chlamydia, and may lead to acute, purulent conjunctivitis.

Common Causes:

• Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by viral infections and bacterial infections.

• Both viral and bacterial infections are contagious, and they do not usually require treatment, and preventing the spread of it is very important.

• Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with topical antibiotics.

• Another cause of conjunctivitis can be allergic reactions, eye irritants, and dry eyes will all give the same symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis:
  • A whitish-yellow, yellow or yellow brown pus in the eye strongly suggests that the infection was caused by bacteria. Pink eye can be caused by bacteria from feces, pet hair, or by smoke fumes.
  • Itching and rubbing eyes are the most common symptom of allergic conjunctivitis.
  • If the eye looks more pink rather than red this suggests that the infection was caused viral.
  • Scaring inside the eye suggests that the eye disease trachoma is possible especially if seen in endemic areas.
  • Clinical testing for dry eyes are done to distinguish an unstable tear film development which can cause various types of pink eye.

Many people who have conjunctivitis have trouble opening there eyes in the morning because of there died eyelids, and they often have excess mucus over the eye after sleeping for extended periods of time.

Treatment and Management:
  • For allergenic conjunctivitis cool water poured over the face helps constrict capillaries. Artificial tears and eye drops help relieve discomfort from dry, red itchy eyes. Allergy medication can be taken to weaken eye irritation symptoms and other symptoms caused by allergies.
  • For bacteria conjunctivitis there is usually no treatment to take care of it. However antibiotic eye drops or topical do help speed the recovery time.
  • For viral conjunctivitis there are also no specific treatments that will help rid of pink eye immediately. The eye’s may be relieved by warm compression, and eye drops. In the worst cases topical corticosteroids drops may be prescribed to reduce the discomfort from inflammation. Antibiotic drops are also used to help treat complementary infections. The typical healing time for viral conjunctivitis will resolve with in 3 weeks, and in some cases over a month.
  • Chemical conjunctivitis symptoms due to burns, toxic and chemical will require careful wash out with saline all over the eyes and under eye lids.Topical steroids may also be used to help cure any problems with chemical conjunctivitis.

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