Many conditions may affect our eyes, but the above condition is severe and widespread. Conjunctivitis affects eye health on one or both of them. The transparent outer layer of the eye, called the conjunctiva, gets inflamed, making the eyes appear red or pink. Some people call it pink eye.
This is because when the blood vessels in the conjunctiva get inflamed, they appear reddish or pink, becoming more visible. Conjunctivitis can be irritating but does not necessarily affect vision.
Infections and allergies may cause this condition. Other eye conditions may trigger this disease. Some other causes may be chemicals or foreign objects coming into contact with your eye or a blocked tear duct in a newborn.
Bacterial and viral infections are the two primary infections causing conjunctivitis. As for allergies, it is not uncommon to get this condition if you experience hay fever.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
Viral conjunctivitis is very common and highly contagious. It is caused by a virus called adenoviral. Other viruses may cause conjunctivitis, including the varicella-zoster virus and the herpes simplex virus.
Further studies since the covid-19 pandemic show that coronavirus may also affect eye health.
This is also a common cause which is caused by bacteria infections. It is also very contagious. Sexually transmitted diseases such as gonophore and chlamydia may lead to conjunctivitis.
Allergic reactions to allergens like animal dander and pollen are risk factors. They may lead to conjunctivitis or other eye health conditions. Though hay fever is seasonal, it is common for people who suffer from it to get conjunctivitis.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
- One or both eyes become red.
- Constant itchiness in the eye. Please refer to this. (https://plano.co/eye-health/other-eye-conditions/conjunctivitis/).
- Often tearing of the eyes.
- Discharge from the affected eye. The discharge forms a crust when one falls asleep, making it difficult to open the eyes upon waking up.
See an eye professional immediately you experience any of these symptoms. There are other eye conditions other than conjunctivitis that may affect your eyes that are equally serious.
If you experience pain or feel like you have something stuck in your eye, make a point to see a doctor. Wearing contact lenses may also affect your eye health. People who wear them should stop soon after getting any pink eye symptoms.
It takes an eye care professional to diagnose this condition after a comprehensive eye checkup. Treatment is then offered according to what caused it.
Oral medication like antihistamine is used to help reduce the eye’s allergic responses. There are allergy suppressing eye drops as well. Avoiding pollen or things that cause allergies is also a good move though hay fever is difficult to avoid.
Viral conjunctivitis has no specific treatment yet. However, lubricant eye drops can be prescribed for comfort. As for bacterial conjunctivitis, you can be prescribed antibiotic eye drops.
How Can Conjunctivitis Be Prevented?
Pink eye is more contagious than the common cold. If you cannot take time off work or school, ensure high hygiene standards. Make washing your hands a habit as often as possible and avoid touching your eyes.
Avoid sharing towels or wash clothes and make sure they are clean before use. It will help if you replace your pillowcases frequently. Do away with any eye makeup like mascara. Sharing cosmetics should be highly avoided as well. These are a few ways you can maintain your eye health.
Newborns are exposed to bacteria in their mother’s birth canal as they are born. Though rare, the bacteria may cause ophthalmia neonatorum, a form of infant conjunctivitis.
This condition should be addressed soon to ensure the infant doesn’t lose sight. Soon after a child is born, an antibiotic ointment is applied to their eyes to prevent conjunctivitis and other eye conditions.