The common eye condition conjunctivitis is characterised by a prominent pink or reddish hue as a result of excessive inflammation, but what exactly causes the problem and how can it be effectively managed?
Symptoms, Causes and Characteristics of Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis is essentially an inflammation of the thin tissue layer, or the conjunctiva, which covers the front of the eye. It usually arises due to a viral infection, although bacterial infections and allergic reactions are also reported to cause the condition, while one or both eyes can be affected.
Occurrence of the infection is most likely in young children rather than adults due to its contagious nature and ability to spread like wildfire across school playgrounds and classrooms. It is known to be the most common eye condition affecting children, but despite the alarming appearance of colour change in the eye, long-term damage is rarely caused if treatment is sought, unless conjunctivitis is the symptom of an underlying disease.
Symptoms can last anywhere between 3-5 days if bacterial based and rarely more than 2 weeks in the majority of cases. Occasionally a coating will form around the eye if the condition is resulting from allergy, while itchiness and watering are further common symptoms of pink eye.
Prevention and Treatment
The condition is contagious if not caused by eye irritants such as house dust or excessive smoke in the surrounding atmosphere, whereby coughing and sneezing will spread the infection. Likewise, someone infected touching surface counters or bathroom utilities in the home will likely spread the condition to other members of the household, so consideration for others around you is vital, with frequent hand washing a must to prevent widespread contamination.
Unless the condition is bacterial, in which antibiotics will likely be required to ease the infection, conjunctivitis can disappear of its own accord without any official treatment, with sufferers usually biding their time until the unsightly symptoms of the condition evaporate.
If treatment is required, then eye drops will often alleviate symptoms in various forms of the condition. Irritant conjunctivitis requires whatever caused the irritant to be removed, while allergic conjunctivitis is often treated with the use of antihistamines, with a doctor likely recommending avoidance of the triggering antagonist.
Allergic based conjunctivitis also reacts well to cool water into the eye to restrict capillaries and diminish the pink eye effect. Contact lenses should not be worn while experiencing a bout of conjunctivitis symptoms, due to the likelihood of the problems being exacerbated through irritation.
Jamie blogs about eye health for varifocal glasses experts Direct Sight