Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an inflammation of the membrane covering the white of the eyes and the underside of the eyelids. There are numerous causes of the condition which is relatively common and not serious, although can be very irritating and uncomfortable.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
- Bloodshot appearance.
- Irritation or a burning feeling in the eye.
- Gritty feeling in the eyes.
- Visual impairment.
- Sticky discharge from the eyes.
- Crusting around the eyelashes.
- Swollen eye lids.
- This usually occurs in both eyes together, although not always and may start in one and spread to the other.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis - A bacterial infection of the eye. The bacteria may have come from the skin, upper respiratory tract or possibly from someone else.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis - Caused by antigens such as pollen and dust. The allergic version is most common in those who already have allergies such as asthmatics and those with hay fever or eczema.
- Viral Conjunctivitis - Caused by the common cold virus and is easily and quickly spread.
- Reactive Conjunctivitis - A reacton to certain shemicals or substances such as chlorine in swimming pools.
Treament of Conjunctivitis
The treatment given depends on the form of conjunctivitis:
- Anti-biotic drops.
- Clean the eye area regularly with cotton wool soaked in cooled boiled water to remove any discharge.
- Anti-histimine drops.
- Identify what is causing the reaction and reduce exposure.
- Currently no cure.
- Relief may be obtained by using eye drops or lubricants.
- Using a cold compress may help ease itching, irritation and swelling.
- Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help ease discomfort and swelling.
- Identify and avoid the trigger.
- In the meantime eye drops and cold compresses may ease discomfort.
There are a few simple rules which can help you to avoid contracting conjunctivitis. The viral and bacterial forms are contagious and so you should also be careful not to pass it on to anyone else.
- Wash the face and hands regularly to kill bacteria.
- Don't rub the eyes.
- Don't share face towels.
- Don't share eye make-up or eye drops.