Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a condition in which the conjunctiva, i.e., the thin
layer of clear tissue that covers the whites of the eye, is inflamed. This membrane also lines
the eyelid. The infection causes blood vessels in the membrane to become inflamed, making them
more visible than usual. The inflammation, therefore, makes the eyes appear pinkish hence the
term “pink eye.”
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Although not particularly harmful, pink eye can feel very uncomfortable and is highly contagious. It can affect both adults and children, including babies.
People may contract the infection through another affected person, or it may be caused by some other factors. Most of the time, it can be managed with treatments and an early diagnosis.
Different kinds of causes can result in different types of pink eye. Some are more common than others because of being more contagious.
Viral strains are highly contagious and also the most common type. They start from one eye and cause a watery discharge and tears. But they also tend to spread to the other eye in a few days. They may also cause a swollen lymph node under the jawbone or near the ear.
Allergic types are less severe, but cause itching, tearing, and redness in both eyes. Some people may also experience a runny, itchy nose with this type of pink eye.
Bacterial strains tend to get very messy due to the large quantity of pus and mucus building up. They usually occur and stay in one eye but in some cases, can affect both eyes.
This is a very severe type of pink eye that occurs in newborns. It’s caused by fairly harmful bacteria and can result in permanent eye damage—even blindness—if left untreated.
This is much like an allergic reaction to a chronic foreign element or body in the eye such as contacts or an ocular prosthesis (artificial eye) that can occur with long-term use.
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As stated in the previous section, different kinds of conjunctivitis can be caused by different
factors that cause the blood vessels to become inflamed.
Some of the most common causes are:
Almost all types of pink eye are easily recognizable due to a large number of very apparent symptoms. Here’s what one should be looking for if you suspect a pink eye infection.
A person who contracts pink eye may experience some or all of these symptoms. Some symptoms may appear at the beginning of the infect and some may appear much later.
Pink eye can be irritating, and symptoms can last up to 2 to 3 weeks. But there are some simple ways to relieve them.
Conjunctivitis or what’s more commonly known as pink eye is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the eye’s membrane to become swollen. This makes them unusually more visible. Giving the eye a pinkish effect, hence the name, Pink Eye.
Seasonal allergies, iritis, a sty, or inflammations like chalazion or blepharitis all cause red, swollen, and irritated eyes—just like a pink eye infection—but these conditions have different causes and aren’t contagious.
Pink eye can spread from the transfer of the virus or bacteria. It could spread if a person
touches their infected eye and proceeds to shake hands with another person, who touches their
own eye. Or it can spread by touching contaminated surfaces or by using old and unclean makeup
Sharing anything isn’t advice during a pink eye infection.
Pink eye contracted due to bacteria is contagious for as long as the symptoms last or about 24 to
48 hours of antibiotic treatment. Viral conjunctivitis is contagious as long as symptoms last
and in some cases, it’s contagious before the first symptoms even appear.
But if your pink eye is caused by an allergy, it’s likely not contagious.
Pink eye is just as contagious as the common cold and usually not very dangerous, so it’s okay to return to work or send your child to school. But it’s important to maintain great hygiene and limit close contact with other people while you’re still contagious.
Most of the time, conjunctivitis clears up on its own and is fairly harmless. So, our doctors
will likely diagnose the type of pink eye and advice on medication and care accordingly.
However, sometimes the pink eye can become more severe and can cause long-lasting damage to the eyesight by scarring the cornea. This is usually in cases of bacterial strains like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Our physician therefore may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection faster.
But since pinkeye typically does take 2 to 3 weeks to cure itself, it’s a good idea to set up an appointment early on so we can help you manage the symptoms.
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