Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin tissue that covers the white part of the eyes, and which lines the eyelids. There are various causes of pink eye, but they all result in the inflammation of blood vessels in the eye. This is what is responsible for the pinkish-red appearance of the parts of the eye that are normally white.
Depending on the cause of the inflammation, pink eye has the potential to be highly contagious. Thus, if its spread is to be limited, early diagnosis and proper treatment is required. If you or your child have been suffering from irritated eyes or eyes that appear to be waxing pink, we highly recommend you consult a physician immediately. Dr Huma Majeed is a great option for people residing in Lahore that would like a quick and convenient diagnosis.
As we’ve mentioned above, there are many different factors that can result in the inflammation characteristic of pink eye. The most concerning of these are, of course, infections. These infections are highly contagious, and usually spread rapidly through schools and other closely packed spaces. Here is a list of causes of conjunctivitis:
- Bacteria – This kind of pink eye results in sticky pus, in addition to the usual soreness of the eyes. It is very contagious.
- Viruses – Pink eye caused by viral molecules is the most common kind, and, like bacterial pink eye, is highly contagious. Those with viral pink eye will usually feel a burning, itching sensation, together with sore, red eyes that have a watery discharge.
- Allergies – If pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction it is not contagious. This makes your eyes very red and watery, and the itching sensation of other types of pink eye is also present. In addition to this, the eyelids may also get very puffy.
- Irritants like chlorine, smoke and dirt.
Pink eye is usually harmless, doing no lasting damage, and normally gets better on its own, without the use of medication. However, some forms of conjunctivitis are more severe and could lead to permanent damage to the conjunctiva, as well as the cornea. This damage would result in the permanent loss of partial, if not complete, loss of vision. Some of the pathogens that trigger these forms of pink eye include gonorrhea and various adenovirus strains.
If the damage is to be minimized, the infection must be neutralised as quickly as possible. Physicians would prescribe antibiotics and/or antiviral medication to help with doing so.
If the conjunctivitis is caused by a pathogen like viruses, bacteria or fungi, medications that target these, like various anti-biotics, would be employed to curb the infection. However, there are still steps you can take yourself to reduce the discomfort, even if the pink eye isn’t caused by infection. These include:
- Regularly washing your eyes to avoid the build up of pus or discharge
- Regularly cleaning clothing, bed linens and pillow covers (as well as anything else that could carry the infecting agent)
- Placing a washcloth over your eyes for a few minutes, multiple times during the day, whenever possible. This will help reduce the irritation and discomfort, as well as keep pus from accumulating and drying around the eyes.
If you seem to be having severe symptoms in addition to the characteristic reddening of the eyes, you should visit a physician immediately to discuss a treatment plan. We suggest you book an appointment with Col. (R) Prof. Dr. Sabir Hussain Bhatti in Lahore, if you reside in the city.