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Most Common and Irritating Problem of Eyes: Conjunctivitis and Its Treatment

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Also called as pinkeye, conjunctivitis is actually an inflammation caused by conjunctiva (a thin transparent tissue covering over the white part of your eye and lines the inner part of your eyelid).

Causes of Pinkeye

                                                              Conjunctivitis

There are several different causes of conjunctivitis, such as –

  • Bacteria like Chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • Viruses
  • Irritants like dirt, shampoos, pool chlorine and smoke
  • Allergies to pollen or dust or other types of allergies affect some contact lens users

Conjunctivitis caused due to some viruses and bacteria can easily spread up from one person to another. But if it is diagnosed well, it is not a serious health problem. In newborn babies, pinkeye must be reported to the physician well, as it could be a very harmful infection for vision.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

The symptoms vary on the cause of inflation. But here are some of the common symptoms –

  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning eyes
  • Higher sensitivity to light
  • White or green discharge from eyes
  • Higher amount of tears
  • Redness in inner eyelid or in the white of eye
  • Thick yellow discharge crusts upon the eyelashes, just after sleep

If you have any of such symptoms, you immediately have to visit your eye specialist. You will undergo an eye test and the doctor may take a sample of fluid using a cotton swab from eyelid to send it for a lab test. The viruses or bacteria which may have led to conjunctivitis, including the ones which can cause STD, can be diagnosed and the doctors may prescribe proper treatment.

Treatment of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can be treated according to the cause.

Viruses

Pinkeye caused due to viral infection can cause the common cold. If it is caused by a virus, no treatment is available in most cases. If it is caused due to herpes simplex virus, you may be prescribed with an antiviral medication. This type of conjunctivitis often starts in one eye and infects another eye in a couple of days. The symptoms will clear up when a virus runs over a few weeks. It can be very contagious. So, wash your hands all the time and avoid sharing your stuff with others. If you have pinkeye, don’t wear contact lenses. Use glasses instead.

Bacteria

Pinkeye caused due to bacteria, like the ones linked to STDs, can be cured with antibiotics, such as ointments, eye drops or pills. The ointments or eye drops should be applied to the inner part of the eyelid, at least, 3 to 4 times in a day for 5 days to 1 week. Your doctor may recommend pills for several days. Infection may start improving by one week. Use drugs as prescribed by the doctor, even though your symptoms are removed.

Allergies

Conjunctivitis caused by allergy needs to be improved once the allergen is removed and allergy is treated. If you have conjunctivitis related to allergy, you should see the doctor. If you are suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, you may be prescribed with several types of eye drops for allergies. They may prescribe the drugs to control your allergic reactions like some form of mast cell stabilizers and antihistamines, and the drugs which can help control symptoms of inflammation like steroids, decongestants, and anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Irritants

There are several irritating substances cause pinkeye. So, you have to use water to wash off the substance for at least 5 minutes. Your eyes should be improved by 4 to 5 hours. In conjunctivitis caused due to alkaline or acid like bleach, clean your eye with a lot of water and call the doctor immediately.

How to Relieve Symptoms?

  • Avoid using makeup
  • Use glasses to protect your eyes from dirt and other irritants
  • Don’t use contact lenses
  • Some of the non-prescription “artificial tears” may be helpful to relieve burning and itching sensation in your eyes due to irritants that can cause pinkeye. However, you shouldn’t use other kinds of eye drops which may cause irritation, even those which are marketed to treat redness. Don’t use same eye drop bottle in another eye.

An eye with conjunctivitis

Prevention

Here are the tips to deal with the symptoms and signs of conjunctivitis –

Use Eye Drops

Artificial tears and some over-the-counter eye drops may be helpful to relieve symptoms. Some medicines have anti-histamines which are helpful to cure allergic conjunctivitis. Don’t use eye drops marketed to treat redness as they work for some time and then lead to rebound redness.

Don’t Wear Contact Lenses

Don’t wear them until your condition improves. How long you will have to live without your favorite lenses relies on the causes of conjunctivitis. So, you will need to ask your eye doctor whether you need to remove cleaning solution, disposable contacts or lens case. If you don’t have disposable lenses, clean them properly before you use them again.

Apply Compress

In order to make compress, soak a lint-free, clean cloth in lukewarm water and squeeze it. Apply to the closed eyelids for a while several times in a day. A cool water compress is more calming. For better results, warm compress can be effective. If only one eye is affected, don’t use same cloth on both eyes to avoid infection to spread from one eye to another.

Avoid Anything that Causes Symptoms

This tip is really very helpful for allergic conjunctivitis.

Shower or Bath before Sleep

This tip may help you to treat the allergic pink eye.

Complications of Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis is usually a self-limiting disease; it either fades away after taking antibiotics or on its own. But a certain type of pink eye can become vision-threatening and serious as they may lead to cornea scarring. Because of them, conjunctivitis can be caused due to Chlamydia, gonorrhea or adreno virus.

How to Avoid Developing Conjunctivitis?

Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious. So, you have to maintain proper hygiene to reduce transmission, such as regular hand washing. Don’t touch your face as the virus can enter the nose, eyes and mouth. To cure pink eyes, eye drops are widely recommended.

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