Pink Eye: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Treatment, And More
Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis is an eye condition, leading to inflammation and irritation. The Conjunctiva lies over the eye whites. It is a thin and clear tissue. This also lines the inside portion of the eyelid. Children and adults both may get Pinkeye as it is highly contagious. It is treatable most of the time.
But if you do not seek timely treatment, then it can lead to eye or vision damage. It is advisable to prevent the spread, and follow doctor’s instructions to avoid long-term issues. Do not linger the problem, as it may require proper medicines/eyedrops, and other forms of treatments.
In the post below, we will discuss Conjunctivitis symptoms, causes, types, seeking doctor’s help, diagnosis, treatment, relief from symptoms.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
The signs of eye infection depend on the reason for the inflammation. Here are symptoms of Conjunctivitis:
- Thick yellow and crusty discharge over eyelashes that make eyelids stick heavily
- More tears than usual
- Burning or itchy eyes
- More sensitive to light
- Blurry vision
- Swollen conjunctiva
- White or green discharge from eyes
- Redness in inner eyelid or white of the eye
- Swollen lymph nodes usually from viral infections
Causes of Pinkeye
Here are the responsible factors for Pink Eye:
- Allergic reactions to dust, pollen, smoke
- Allergy from contact lenses
- Viruses, including those that cause the common cold
- A reaction to eyedrops
- Parasites, amoebas, fungi
- Dirt, pool chlorine, smoke, shampoos
In some cases, Conjunctivitis may occur due to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases):
- Chlamydia may result in this condition in adults
- Gonorrhoea can lead to a dangerous and rare type of Pink Eye
- This may even cause vision loss if not treated in time
- The baby can get it through the birth canal if the mother is the carrier of these STDs
If Pinkeye happens due to viruses or bacteria, then it may easily spread from people to people. However, the health risk is not dangerous here if the condition is promptly dealt with. If it affects a newborn, then you need to inform the doctor to immediately treat the infection.
Types of Pink Eye Infections
Here are the types of Conjunctivitis:
The bacterial strains infect usually one eye at first. But it may gradually show up in both eyes. The eyes will pass out mucus and pus.
These are more commonly seen, and most contagiously as well. It may begin in one eye, and in a few days, affect the second eye. The symptoms are watery discharge and lots of tears. Also, you may encounter a swollen lymph node under the jawbone or in front of your ears.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis
This is related to the long-term use of ocular prosthesis (artificial eye) or contact lenses. This is perhaps from an allergic reaction to a foreign body in the eye for a long time.
This is a severe type of Pinkeye that occurs in newborns. The responsible factor is a dangerous bacterium. This needs immediate treatment to prevent blindness or permanent damage to the eyes.
Here, allergy to eyes can cause itching, redness, and tears from both eyes. You may also face other symptoms such as a runny or itchy nose.
Seeking Help from Doctor
Ask for a doctor’s assistance in case:
- You find a lot of green or yellow discharge from the eyes
- If your eyelids get stuck often in an odd manner in the morning
- Your vision is different and unclear
- You encounter severe eye pain when looking at bright lights
- You have shaking chills, vision loss, high fever, face pain
If you find symptoms of Conjunctivitis in newborns, then call for a doctor as soon as possible to avert permanent damage to their vision. This is true even if the signs and effects are mild.
Diagnosis of Pinkeye
Not all swollen, irritated, and red eyes are Pink Eyes or Viral Conjunctivitis. Many times, the symptoms may result from the sty, seasonal allergy, chalazion (inflammation of the eyelid gland), blepharitis (infection or inflammation of the skin around the eyelids), iritis, etc. These do not spread.
If you encounter signs of eye irritation, visit a doctor. He/she will ask about the symptoms, perform an eye exam, and take eye swab/eyelid fluid on cotton for a test in a lab. The examination will assist in confirming the cause of the problem. Is the issue due to the virus or bacteria of Conjunctivitis?
Is it because of pathogens of STDs? Or the problem is something else? After the test reports and current signs of the condition, the healthcare provider will guide you with treatment. If it is Pink Eye, the doctor will suggest:
Tips to avoid the spread
- Tell if you need to stay away from social contact
- He/she will also prescribe Pink Eye eyedrops, medications, and other solutions
Treatment for Pink Eye
The treatment for Pinkeye depends on the cause of it:
In case Pinkeye is from bacteria, this includes that of an STD, then the healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics in form of pills, eye drops, or ointments. You will have to apply the ointment or eyedrop inside the eyelid. Repeat it at least 3 to 4 times a day. Follow the course for 5 to 7 days.
If you get to take pills, then you need to do so for several days as per indication of the doctor. You may find good improvement in a week. Even if the symptoms disappear, do not stop the prescribed treatment in between. Complete the entire course of the Pink Eye treatment.
Conjunctivitis from viruses is from that of a common cold. Here, the Pink Eye may last for 4 to 7 days or as long as the cold lasts. Since the condition is contagious, you must try everything to stop it from spreading to others. Do not take antibiotics, as these will not deter the virus. Contact doctor for treatment.
Allergy-caused Pink Eye may disappear after successful treatment of the allergy. The healthcare provider will advise you to avoid things that trigger the allergy. In the meantime, he/she may prescribe you oral or drops of Antihistamines.
But if you suffer from dry eyes, using this treatment can make your eyes and mouth drier. So, do not self-treat in case of an allergy, but contact a doctor.
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If the irritant leads to Pinkeye, then use wash the substance with water from the eye for a minimum of 5 minutes. You will see an improvement in a matter of 4 hours. Immediately rinse eyes with plenty of water if the irritant in question is an alkaline or acidic substance such as bleach. Also, reach out to the doctor instantly.
For all the above-mentioned causes and treatments, your doctor will ask you to make a return visit after several days. He/she will then enquire about symptoms and how you feel, run an eye exam to decide if the infection has gone away, or you need further care to deal with Conjunctivitis.
Get Relief From Conjunctivitis Symptoms
The most important thing to do during Pinkeye infection is to maintain cleanliness and hygiene so that re-infection does not occur. Also, this will stop the spread of the disease. Here are some of the tips for relief from Conjunctivitis:
User soap or handwash with water before performing any activity such as eating, using utensils, linen, etc. Also, after use, repeat the procedure.
Do Not Touch
Do not run or touch the infection spot with your fingers. Always use antiseptic and antigerm wipes or tissues.
Keep Eyes Clean
Keep your eyes clean by washing any discharge. Do it several times a day. To avoid direct contact with hands and other body parts, wash/wipe with a paper towel or fresh cotton ball. Dispose of these carefully in a bin, and let no one touch it. Wash your hands with warm water and soap.
Use a washcloth (a clean one) and soak it in warm water. Now put it over the affected eye. Keep this for a few minutes. Repeat it 3 to 4 times a day. Doing so may give relief from pain. It will also clean some of the crust in corners or eyelid or on eyelashes.
Change Pillowcases and Bedlinen
You must change and wash pillowcases and bedlinen until the infection disappears. Use detergent and hot water for the wash. Keep the cloth, linen, towels, washcloth, bedcover, bed sheets, pillowcases, etc separate from those used by others.
Keep the Use of Eyedrops in Check
Do not use eyedrops that the doctor does not prescribe. When you utilize the prescribed ones, do so for the number of times the healthcare provider has asked for. Do not overuse, as it may cause other complications.
Wear glasses, do not share or wear eye makeup, discard disposable lenses, keep the eyewear cases and extended-wear lenses clean. Protect your eyes from irritants, smoke, and dirt. Do not put a patch on the eye as it may worsen the situation.
Pink Eye: To Conclude
Pink Eye and Conjunctivitis are of different types. These may have different forms of responsible factors. Thus, the treatment will also depend on the possible cause. It is best to seek a doctor’s assistance promptly and follow the prescription. Pinkeye in newborns needs immediate help.
So, follow the tips for relief from Pinkeye symptoms, and stay protected, so that others and you can stay safe from the infection.
April 6, 2021 Sam Bell