Conjunctivitis or 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 although not usually serious.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis
The eye will have a bloodshot appearance. It may irritate or feel like a burning pain in the eye. The eyelids may be swollen and the patient could feel as if they have grit in the eye. Vision is likely to be impaired and a sticky discharge from the eye with crusting around the eyelashes may be present. Conjunctivitis usually occurs in both eyes together, although not always and may start in one and spread to the other.
Treatment of conjunctivitis
The treatment given depends on the form of conjunctivitis:
Bacterial Conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic drops. The eye should be cleaned regularly with cotton wool soaked in cooled boiled water to remove any discharge.
Allergic Conjunctivitis will require antihistamine drops. The cause of the allergic reaction should be identified in order to reduce exposure and change of contracting conjunctivitis.
Viral Conjunctivitis currently has 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 medication may be prescribed to help ease discomfort and swelling.
Reactive Conjunctivitis required identifying and avoiding 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 makeup or eye drops.