Pink eye or Conjunctivitis is a common condition that causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.
It’s highly contagious and children are more prone to it. However, there is no need to worry as it’s treatable.
What Causes Pinkeye?
The conjunctiva can become inflamed as a result of:
- Viruses, including the kind that causes the common cold
- A reaction to contact lenses or eye-drops
- Parasites, amoebas, Fungi
- Irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, pollen, pool chlorine, or smoke.
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Symptoms of Pink Eye
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of pink eye you have.
- If you feel burning and itching with a thick and sticky mucus discharge, you may have the bacterial pink eye.
- Tearing, a swollen lymph node in front of the year or under the jaw, and a light discharge of mucus from one or both eyes are signs of the viral pink eye. People suffering from viral pink eye may also experience cold as well as some symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.
- Intense itching, redness, and tears in both eyes indicate allergic pink eye.
When to call your doctor?
You really need to consult with your healthcare provider when:
- Physically injured eye may lead to the eye infection. Any kind of infection in the eyes can lead to corneal ulcers, which could lead to irreversible vision loss.
- Your eyes become extremely red due to the contact lens you wear. Remove those lenses immediately and consult with your doctor. You may have a corneal ulcer or infection in your eye.
- Your vision is affected or you have eye redness, along with pain/excessive yellow/green discharge, chances are you may have a bacterial infection.
- If conjunctivitis takes a short period of time to get worse, you may have a bacterial or viral infection.
How to diagnose Conjunctivitis?
Your healthcare provider will ask about some usual symptoms including burning, itchy eyes that discharge a thick, sticky mucus and tearing. The cause behind pink eye can be determined from your symptoms, medical history, and the eye exam findings alone. The treatment for pink eye is started right away after examination. Your doctor can change your treatment based on the results of lab tests.
How to treat Pink Eye?
- Home remedies can help you soothe conjunctivitis symptoms associated with minor infections, cold, or allergies. This also includes cleansing the eyes.
- Apply a warm compress for 5-10 minutes, thrice a day to help relieve the discomfort of pink eye. You can also use preservative-free eye drops a few times a day. Make sure not to use steroid eye drops or your friends’ medications without a doctor’s prescription.
- For eye allergy, you can place a cool compress on your closed eye. Moreover, you can use nonprescription allergy or antihistamine eye drops to relieve itching and burning. Consult your doctor if the condition worsens or does not improve in a few days.
- Pink eye caused by virus usually takes one to three weeks to complete its course. As caused by a virus, pink eye can take one to three weeks to get better. As it’s not due to bacteria, viral conjunctivitis does not respond to antibiotics. Pink eye due to virus is highly contagious. Make sure not to share your towels or washcloths with others. You can use artificial tears to help relieve symptoms of viral pink eye.
- Pink eye due to bacteria can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. This generally clears the symptoms within a few days. However, make sure to complete the full course of antibiotic treatment.
Consult with your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any discomfort, involvement of one eye, or loss of vision.