Pink eye is a common term for conjunctivitis. This common eye condition can be defined as a redness and inflammation of the membranes that cover the whites of the eyes. Conjunctivitis will also affect the membranes on the inner parts of the eyelids.
Pink eye may be caused by many different things. It can be caused by a bacteria or a virus. Pink eye can also be caused by allergies, toxic agents and sometimes by underlying diseases in the body. Pink eye can be classified as noninfectious or infectious depending on the cause.
A viral infection is the leading cause of pink eye. This type of viral infection will produce a watery discharge from the eye. The eye infection may be accompanied by cold like symptoms and sinus congestion. Pink eye will cause swollen eyelids and sensitivity to bright lights. Viral pink eye is highly contagious and it will resolve in seven to ten days after the first symptoms appear.
Bacterial pink eye will produce a large amount of yellow or greenish discharge from the eyes. This will usually accumulate after sleeping and make it impossible to open your eyes in the morning because they are stuck shut.
The treatment for bacterial pink eye is antibiotics that are prescribed by your doctor. Applying a warm wash cloth to the affected eye can help with the swelling and discomfort.
Both types of pink eye are highly contagious. Frequent hand washing and keeping the infected person away from others will help prevent the spread of pink eye. Do not use medication from a previous eye infection or someone else”s eye medication to treat your pink eye.
Viral pink eye will not require an antibiotic because viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Bacterial pink eye can be treated with antibiotics eye drops and sometimes an oral antibiotic may be given if there is other infection present in the body.
Complications from pink eye are rare, but if you or your child have pink eye and are having a lot of pain, you need to see your doctor right away. A lot of times conjunctivitis is a symptom of another underlying disease that can be quite serious.
If you have persistent pink eye, this may be a sign of a rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic pink eye may also be present in Kawasaki”s disease and certain inflammatory bowels disease such as Crohn”s disease.
Pink is spread easily from person to person by direct contact. If you or someone in your family has pink eye, avoid touching the infected area. Have everyone in the household wash their hands frequently. Do not share washcloths or towels. Disinfect countertops, doorknobs and sinks to help prevent the spread of pink eye.