• Most Common Pink Eye Signs and Symptoms

    What is Pink Eye?

    Pink eye or conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva, which is the outer layer of the sclera in the human eye. There are three main types of infections that affect the conjunctiva:

    • Viral: Viral infections are most common in those who have a cold, respiratory infection or sore throat.
    • Bacterial: Bacterial infections are brought on by exposure to streptococcus or staphylococcus; these are strains of bacteria that infect and irritate the eye. The infection will be more severe with certain bacterial infections.
    • Allergic: This type is usually brought on by allergy and intolerance of things like cosmetics, drugs or perfume.

    Both the bacterial and viral strains are contagious meaning that they can spread quickly and easily in a group of children who are the most likely to get this type of infection. Each variety has its own form of treatment and therefore requires a doctor’s advice to treat. There are also differences in the symptoms associated with each.

    Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye

    Allergic Conjunctivitis:

    • Both eyes are affected
    • Teary eyes
    • Itchiness
    • Swollen eyelids

    Viral Conjunctivitis:

    • Irritated eyes
    • Thin watery discharge
    • One becomes infected and then over time the other may also become affected
    • Reddened eyes

    Bacterial Conjunctivitis

    • Usually affects only one eye but can spread to both
    • Reddened eyes
    • Irritated gritty feeling
    • Teary eyes
    • Swelling of the conjunctiva itself
    • Eyelids sticking together especially after night time sleep
    • Stringy, discharge that causes the eyelids to stick closed

    How to Treat It

    Conjunctivitis must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor to make sure the proper action is taken and they affected eye(s) clear up. Because each of these three are different treatment will seek to handle the infection directly based on the symptoms.

    • Bacterial: This type is most often treated with antibiotics in an ointment or eye drop format that is designed to treat several varieties of bacterial infection.
    • Allergic: For milder infections simple treatments like eye drops and cold compresses can help. If the infection becomes more severe it may be necessary to treat it with anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines. In the most severe cases it may be necessary to treat with topical steroid drops.
    • Viral: This type is often allowed to heal on its own, which should take no more than 3 weeks. Patients can treat the symptoms with cold compresses and eye drops. If the case is particularly virulent the doctor may prescribe topical steroid drops to relieve any feelings of discomfort.

    Preventing the Spread of Contagion

    • To avoid passing the infection on follow a few of these simple steps:
    • Do not go swimming
    • Avoid shaking hands with others
    • Avoid sharing the same washcloths and towels with others
    • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently especially after touching the infected area.
    • Avoid using handkerchiefs and instead use disposable tissues
    • Make up a bleach solution to sterilize areas that get touched by hands often like doorknobs, counters, tables and the like.
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