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Conjunctivitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Just about anyone who has children who socialize with other kids has heard about “pinkeye” or conjunctivitis. This common occurrence among daycare and other childcare surroundings can be extremely contagious and uncomfortable. By understanding the potential causes of this inflammation of the conjunctiva along with identifying symptoms can help you develop a treatment that is effective and can expedite healing. We here at HPFY can give you the information you need.

Conjunctivitis

What is Conjunctivitis and What Causes It?

I'm sure you have heard the term pinkeye or conjunctivitis at some time in your life, but what exactly is it? Basically, it is the inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva which is the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. It is this infection that causes the blood vessels in the eye to be more visible due to inflammation. This is what gives the eye it’s reddish or pinkish appearance. This inflammation is often caused by a bacteria or viral infection and can even be an allergic reaction. An incompletely opened tear duct can also cause conjunctivitis in babies. Some common causes of conjunctivitis can be:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Allergies
  • Foreign objects
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Chemical splashes

Conjunctivitis caused by both viral or bacterial irritation/infection can also occur while experiencing a cold or be symptoms of a respiratory infection. Also, those who wear contact lenses that haven’t been cleaned properly risk conjunctivitis.

Symptoms and Treatments of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is relatively common and more than 3 million cases per year are reported. Symptoms of pinkeye can last several days or weeks and are often self-treated. Some of the most common symptoms of conjunctivitis or pink eye include:

  • Redness in one or both of your eyes
  • Itchiness also in one or both eyes
  • Discharge that can form into a hard crust during sleep
  • Excessive tearing
  • A grittiness in one or both eyes

Even though conjunctivitis can be a common event, there are risk factors that can increase your chance of contracting this malady. Being exposed to someone who has already been infected by the viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis, an allergen (allergic conjunctivitis), and even extended wear contact lenses can all increase your risk of conjunctivitis. Contact lens wearers can be proactive and be sure that they are properly cleaned with a lens care rinsing solution. Treatment for pinkeye usually centers on symptom relief and can include eye drops, wet cloth to clean your eyelids, and even cold/warm compresses. Those who wear contact lenses will be advised to avoid them until your treatment is completed. Conjunctivitis caused by an allergy may require eye drops prescribed by a doctor, so be sure to visit your doctor if you believe your pink eye was caused by allergies.

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Conjunctivitis or pinkeye is a common occurrence that can be extremely irritating. It can affect your quality of life and everyday functionality. Over-the-counter eye drops and compresses are simple, easy home remedies that can help ease symptoms and if they persist you should see your doctor or physician. Most importantly, if you believe you have conjunctivitis avoid contact with others to minimize the risk of spreading it to others.

 

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