- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Feb 09 2017
WHAT IS CONJUNCTIVITIS?
Conjunctivitis is a highly common condition where one or both eyes become red or pink and have a sticky or watery discharge. Almost everyone has experienced “pink eye” at some point in time and the discomfort that it brings.
WHAT CAUSES CONJUNCTIVITIS?
The three most common reasons behind conjunctivitis are:
- Viral conjunctivitis: It is very contagious and is caused by a virus associated with common cold. It usually clears up on its own in a few days without medical treatment. It can develop as a result of exposure to the coughing or sneezing of someone with an upper respiratory tract infection.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: It is caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria and can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated. Insects, physical contact with other people, sharing contact lenses, touching eyes with unclean hands, applying contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions can also cause an infection.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: It occurs mainly among people who already have seasonal allergies such as pollen, dust and animal dander. They develop when people come in contact with a substance that triggers the allergic reaction in their eyes.
Other causes of conjunctivitis could be:
- Sexually transmitted infections.
- Irritants such as chlorine from swimming pools, shampoo, smoke, fumes.
- Contact dermato-conjunctivitis from eye drops, chemicals or make-up.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis, from wearing contact lenses or eye surgery stitches.
The usual signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis range from:
- Redness in the eyes
- An increased amount of tears
- Thick yellow sticky discharge especially in the morning
- Green or white discharge from the eye
- Itchy or burning eyes
- Blurred vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
Treatment for conjunctivitis will depend on the type and nature of the problem. Viral conjunctivitis, usually, clears up on its own without treatment and any long-term consequences. If the irritation is allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe the general eye drops for people with allergies. These may include medications that help control allergic reactions, such as antihistamines, drugs that help control inflammation, such as decongestants, steroids and anti-inflammatory drops.
PREVENTION & CARE
- Don’t use contact lenses until the infection has cleared up.
- Use eye drops to keep the eyes lubricated, avoiding soreness and stickiness.
- Use damp cotton wool to wipe away the discharge from the eyes.
- Do not rub the eyes as this may worsen symptoms.
- Always wash your hands before touching your eyes.
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