Jun 18

Conjunctivitis FAQ: Understanding Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye - Mandeville, LA

Posted by Neil Notaroberto M.D.

A woman with pink eyeHere at EyeCare 20/20, we take great care in helping the people of Mandeville see clearly and have healthy eyes. We offer comprehensive eye care services as well as advanced vision correction, and we are also pleased to offer basic information on common conditions that affect people everyday.

With this in mind, we want to take a look at conjunctivitis/pink eye, which can affect people of all ages. Let's answer some of the most common questions we get about this condition.

What Is Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye?

Pink eye refers to a type of infection that affects the eyes, resulting in redness or pinkness in the whites of the eye (the sclera). The irritation is related to the conjunctiva, the inner lining of the eyelid. Infection of the conjunctiva causes inflammation of the sclera and the telltale pinkness and redness.

What Are the Common Causes of Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye?

There are four common causes of pink eye:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Allergies
  • Irritants directly in the eye

It's important that the exact cause of the pink eye be identified in the consultation process. This will allow us to determine the proper treatment and course of action.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of pink eye are listed below, with an indication of what sort of pink eye is most commonly related with the symptom when applicable:

  • Excessive redness or pinkness of the eye
  • A gritty or grainy sensation in the eyes
  • Watery discharge from the eyes (typical of viral conjunctivitis)
  • Thick yellow-green discharge from the eyes (typical of bacterial conjunctivitis)
  • Itchiness and excessive tearing (typical of allergic conjunctivitis)

As soon as you notice any of these signs or symptoms, be sure to meet with your physician so the problem can be properly diagnosed.

Who Is Most at Risk for Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye?

When it comes to viral and bacterial cases of pink eye, the most common risk factor is proximity to children. Teachers of the very young, day care workers, and nannies often have to deal with potential pink eye simply given the many vectors of infection involved in their jobs. Touching doorknobs or remotes or desks and then rubbing your eyes can cause pink eye to occur.

And obviously children themselves are at high risk for the condition, especially when they are around other children.

What Treatments Are Available for Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye?

In terms of treating pink eye, the ideal course of action can vary.

  • Bacterial Pink Eye – Bacterial pink eye is commonly treated with the use of antibiotic eye drops and ointments. The bacterial infection will typically sort itself out in a week, even without the use of medication.

  • Viral Pink Eye – Viral pink eye can be address using antiviral medications. Like bacterial pink eye, however, the condition will often run its course on its own in a week or so.

  • Pink Eye Related to Allergies – The best option for treating pink eye caused by allergies is prescription anti-inflammatory medications and the use of antihistamines.

How Do I Treat Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye at Home?

In terms of at-home treatment, we recommend the following:

  • Use over-the-counter eye drops to address irritation and itchiness
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses until the condition has passed
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Apply a warm, moist compress to the eye to soothe irritation

Can Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye Be Prevented?

To prevent pink eye from affecting you, consider these helpful tips:

  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before touching your eyes
  • Avoid sharing towels, linens, and pillows
  • Never share your eye makeup with others
  • Never share your contact lenses or cleaning solution with others
  • Never share eye medicine with others
  • Wear eye protection while in windy, dusty, smoky, or hazardous environments

Speak with the Vision Specialists of EyeCare 20/20

To learn more about conjunctivitis and your treatment options for this and other kinds of eye infections, be sure to contact our team of eye care experts today. We at EyeCare 20/20 can help you achieve wellness.

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