Pink eye is the slang name for conjunctivitis which is the inflammation of the surface of your eyeball and the inside of your eyelid.
Pink Eye Causes
Many medical diseases cause conjunctivitis
But this term is usually associated with bacterial or viral infection.
Others include allergy and chemical irritation.
Pink Eye Symptoms
- Mild erythema ( redness of the surface of the eye)
- Non-clear discharge. (Yellowish or greenish indicates a bacterial infection).
- Itching or burning
- Mild pain
- Excessive tearing
- Feeling like there are sand particles in your eyes.
- Classically, you wake and find your eyelids stuck due to the discharge.
- If another family member has the same symptoms this indicates an infectious and contagious cause.
- May be associated with common cold.
- Swollen lymph nodes
When to visit your ophthalmologist?
Not all inflamed eyes have simple causes but sometimes the underlying cause may be more serious and require immediate intervention (seasonal allergies, sty, chalazion, blepharitis, highly contagious viral infection)
Visiting your ophthalmologist is a must in case you develop any symptoms of the following symptoms:
- Yellowish or greenish discharge
- Stuck eyelids
- High fever
- Poor vision (blurry vision, seeing halos, double vision or vision loss).
- Severe pain
Pink eye diagnosis
Your ophthalmologist will take a thorough medical history of your symptoms and perform a physical examination.
If he/she suspects a bacterial infection, a sample of the discharge may be sent to a lab to diagnose the type of bacteria to prescribe a more specific antibiotic.
Since pinkeye may be severely contagious some measures are necessary to prevent its spreading
- Always wash your hand every time you touch your eyes.
- Always keep your towels clean and separate from other people’s towels.
- Do not touch your eyes with your fingers, use tissue or wipes.
- Do not put eye makeup or share them.
- Take off your contact lenses till the infection is resolved.
- Apply warm compressors for a few minutes every few hours. ( this eases the pain and breaks some of the crust build up on your eyelashes)
- Use artificial tear drops but if you exceeded a few days using them, please book an appointment with your ophthalmologist.
Treatment for Pink Eye
- Artificial tears are OTC drops that help with the gritty sensation associated with pink eye.
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointments
- Ocular decongestants
- Anti-histaminic drugs
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Pink eye in children:
If a child is suffering from conjunctivitis then he/she should skip school until clearance.
Pink Eye Prevention
- If a family member or colleague is suffering from pink eye, avoid sharing personal stuff or touching their hands after they have touched their eyes.
- Avoid using the same microscope or goggles.
- Change pillows and towels every day.
- Avoid sharing makeup, contact lenses or eye drops.
- Pink eye usually resolves within 10-14 days maximum.
- Treatment is mandatory to avoid corneal abrasions.