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All About Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, informally called pink eye, is a common eye illness, particularly with children. Pink eye can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even hypersensitivity to chlorine in swimming pools, ingredients found in cosmetics, and pollen, or other substances, which touch the eyes. Certain kinds of pink eye might be quite contagious and rapidly infect many people in close proximity such as at school and in the office or home.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the thin clear layer of tissue that lines the white part of the eye, or conjunctiva, gets inflamed. A good clue that you have pink eye is if you notice eye redness, itching, discharge, or swollen eyelids and crusty eyes early in the day. Symptoms of pink eye may occur in one or both eyes. Pink eye infections can be divided into three basic kinds: allergic, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis.

Viral conjunctivitis is often caused by a similar virus to that which makes us have those recognizable red, watery eyes, runny nose and sore throat of the common cold. Symptoms of the viral form of pink eye will usually be present for seven to fourteen days and like other viruses cannot be treated with medication. If you feel uncomfortable symptoms, compresses applied to the eyes will give you some relief. The viral form of conjunctivitis is contagious until it's gone, so in the meanwhile practice excellent hygiene, remove discharge and try to avoid sharing pillowcases or towels. If your child has viral pink eye, he or she will have to stay home from school from school for three days to a week until it clears up.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should see an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but make sure to take the entire course of antibiotics to prevent the infection from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not transmittable. It usually occurs in people who already suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies to substances such as pets or dust. The allergic symptoms in the eyes may be just a small part of their overall allergic reaction. First of all, when treating allergic conjunctivitis, you have to eliminate the irritant. To ease discomfort, try artificial tears or compresses. In more severe cases, your eye doctor may decide to give you a prescription for an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of persistent allergic infections, topical steroid eye drops might be prescribed.

In all instances of pink eye, making certain to maintain proper hygiene is the best way to prevent it from spreading. Try not to touch your eyes, and if you do, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Conjunctivitis should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor to identify the type and proper course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the earlier you begin treatment, the lower likelihood you have of spreading pink eye to others or suffering unnecessarily.