Conjunctivitis, or pinkeye as it is more commonly known, is a condition that occurs because the conjunctiva of the eye becomes inflamed. This is a thin tissue that lines the eyelid on the inside and there are a number of reasons why a person can develop conjunctivitis. Some cases of pinkeye are caused by a bacteria, a virus, or even allergies or irritants. When pinkeye is caused by a virus or bacteria, it is very contagious and easy to spread to other people but will not cause lasting problems as long as a doctor diagnoses it quickly and the patient begins treatment.
Symptoms to Look for
There are a number of symptoms that can occur with conjunctivitis and what a person experiences will often be determined by what is causing the inflammation. In general, patients with conjunctivitis experience redness in the inner eyelid that makes the white of the eye appear red and inflamed, a thick yellow discharge that becomes crusty on the eyelashes, and thick discharge. In addition, most patients experience burning and itching that feels as though there is sand in the eye; it’s this discomfort along with the discharge that sends them to the doctor.
How to Treat Pinkeye
There are a number of different treatments that you may use, depending on what has caused the conjunctivitis. For bacterial conjunctivitis, the treatment is often a medication in the form of an eyedrop. This will relieve the inflammation and infection in about a week. It’s important to continue the prescribed conjunctivitis treatment even if the symptoms end.
Conjunctivitis caused by viruses will have to run its course as there is no treatment for it, although the patient must be careful as it is highly contagious. Allergy- or irritant-induced conjunctivitis will be treated with water washes of the eye as well as the patient taking care to remove the irritants or allergens from the home or office. If you suffer from conjunctivitis that is linked to allergies, then it’s important to talk to a doctor about how to treat the underlying problem and not just the symptoms.
What to Know About Spreading Conjunctivitis
Unfortunately, pinkeye is highly contagious and the patient has to be very careful that he or she does not spread it to others around him or her. Children usually need to stay home from school until the symptoms are gone and should avoid touching their eyes and then anything else without first washing them. Adults should wash all linens and bedclothes of the patient. Patients should wear glasses instead of contacts during treatment and carefully wash the infected area a few times a day.
With treatment, even the most stubborn case of conjunctivitis can be treated. If you think that you have pinkeye, then you will want to seek immediate care so you can begin healing and avoid spreading this contagious illness.