Conjunctivitis, or "pink eye" happens when the conjunctiva of the eye becomes inflamed. The eye can become red or pink, swollen, and irritated, and there may be mucus. The conjunctiva is a thin layer of cells, or membrane, between the inner surface of the eyelids and the whites of the eyes. This causes discomfort and a pink or red appearance that can last from a few days to several weeks. Causes include irritation, allergy, and infection.
Artificial tears and warm compresses may help keep the eye comfortable while viral conjunctivitis runs its course. Sometimes the condition can be treated at home, while other times it requires medical…. The doctor may take a swab from the infected eye, for testing in a lab. Antibiotics are sometimes used, but they will not help if the cause is a virus. Particles, objects, and liquids can get into your eye and stay there unless flushed out.
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Eye discharge, or "sleep" in your eyes, is a combination of mucus, oil, skin cells and other debris that accumulates in the corner of your eye while you sleep.
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Jump to content. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, filmy membrane that covers the white of your eye. The conjunctiva, which produces mucus to coat and lubricate the surface of the eye, contains fine blood vessels that can be seen on close inspection. The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have conjunctivitis.
The risk factors for conjunctivitis depend on the type of conjunctivitis. Often the person with viral conjunctivitis has had an upper respiratory infection preceding the onset of the red eye or has been around someone with an upper respiratory infection. People who work in health care settings or with children have a high risk of exposure to the viruses that can cause viral conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by the environmental factors that trigger an allergic reaction in the eye and these triggers are different for each person. The different types of conjunctivitis often can be distinguished by an eye examination, including your medical history. Viral and allergic conjunctivitis often do not require special testing for diagnosis.
Other infectious forms, caused by viruses, can't be treated with antibiotics. They must be fought off by your body's immune system. But some antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections from developing.
Artificial tears and warm compresses may help keep the eye comfortable while viral conjunctivitis runs its course. When treating allergic and chemical forms of conjunctivitis, the cause of the allergy or irritation must first be removed. Wear swimming goggles if chlorinated water irritates your eyes.
In cases where these measures won't work, prescription and over-the-counter eye drops are available to help relieve the discomfort. Conjunctivitis Pink Eye. What Is Conjunctivitis Pink Eye? Symptoms Pinkness or redness in the eye Red, inflamed inner eyelids Blurred vision Sandy or scratchy feeling in the eye Pus, mucous, or watery discharge from the eye The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have conjunctivitis.
Causes There are many sources of eye irritation that can cause conjunctivitis. Bacterial Conjunctivitis Bacterial infections can cause a red eye, which is associated with pus or discharge from the eye, or they can cause a red eye which is associated with crusting of the eyelashes with little or no discharge. Viral Conjunctivitis Viruses can cause conjunctivitis, such as the familiar red eyes, sore throat, and runny nose of a common cold.
Viral conjunctivitis usually produces a watery mucous discharge and lasts from 1 to 2 weeks. Cloth handkerchiefs and towels should not be shared during this time. Hand washing also will help prevent the spread of this infection. Allergies Allergies can cause conjunctivitis, which produces a stringy, white discharge. Allergies can make the eyes itchy or produce a chronic red eye and environmental irritants, such as smoke or fumes, may cause conjunctivitis.
Any type of conjunctivitis is aggravated by dryness of the eyes. Risk Factors The risk factors for conjunctivitis depend on the type of conjunctivitis. Tests and Diagnosis The different types of conjunctivitis often can be distinguished by an eye examination, including your medical history.
Treatment for Allergic Forms of Conjuntivitis When treating allergic and chemical forms of conjunctivitis, the cause of the allergy or irritation must first be removed. Bixler, M.
The constant vibration of the soft palate and uvula while you snore can also irritate the tissue in your throat, causing soreness. An abscessed tooth can cause severe pain that radiates to your ear and jaw on the same side. Mono can cause severe symptoms that can last for several weeks. Snoring occurs when the uvula and soft palate partially collapse over the back of the throat. Antibiotics are also used to treat tooth infections. Other symptoms include:. It can also cause lung irritation.
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Infective conjunctivitis (pink eye): Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
An eye cold is the viral form of conjunctivitis. You might also hear an eye cold referred to as pink eye. Signs of an eye cold viral conjunctivitis include general conjunctivitis symptoms like reddening of the whites of your eyes, sensitivity to light, swollen eyelids, and clear, white, or yellow discharge from your eyes.
If you have an eye cold, you might have watery discharge from your eyes. An eye cold will usually cause a watery rather than thick discharge and may accompany a common cold or respiratory tract infection.
Bacterial conjunctivitis often occurs at the same time as an ear infection, and the discharge tends to be thick instead of watery and often affects just one eye. Allergic conjunctivitis generally happens when pollen counts are high, and other allergic symptoms might be present, like itchy eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor so that they can determine the cause and the right treatment. Adenoviruses are some of the same viruses that cause head and chest colds.
This is why handwashing is an important part of care and prevention. Conjunctivitis both viral and bacterial is very easy to spread to other people. In extremely rare cases, the sexually transmitted diseases STDs gonorrhoea and chlamydia are the cause of eye infections and share symptoms of conjunctivitis. Ocular herpes, or eye herpes , is also a less likely but complicated viral infection that shares many of the same symptoms as conjunctivitis.
A severe eye cold and other forms of conjunctivitis can cause inflammation in the cornea that may ultimately affect your vision or even lead to scarring if untreated. A prompt examination and treatment from your healthcare provider can prevent this from happening. Your primary care doctor will usually be able to diagnose conjunctivitis based on your medical history, your symptoms, and an examination of your eye.
In some cases, your doctor may collect some of the discharge from your eye to have it tested. But it can take as long as two or three weeks to clear up for some people. In fact, use of antibiotic eye drops can make viral conjunctivitis last longer. Your treatment will focus on relieving your eye cold symptoms and preventing further spread of the infection. Your doctor may recommend bathing your eyes in warm water, using warm or cold compresses, and sometimes using artificial tears.
You should also discard any eye or face makeup, like foundation, you used before or while you had your eye cold. These four tips will also help you avoid spreading infection to your eyes when you have a chest or head cold.
If you have an eye cold, talk to your employer and see what their policy is on whether or not you need to be absent from work. They can determine the cause of the infection. Your doctor will be able to rule out serious conditions like a corneal abrasion or complications from STDs. If your doctor assures you that the cause of your symptoms is viral, then you should focus on relieving your symptoms to make yourself comfortable for the next few days to weeks.
Your eye cold should clear up on its own usually within a week, but sometimes it takes as long as three weeks. Make sure you practice good hygiene during this time to prevent the illness from spreading or worsening. Giant papillary conjunctivitis GPC is an allergic reaction of the eye. Bumps or papillae occur on the underside of the eyelid and it may affect your….
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