Pink eye syndrome is the common name for the medical term conjunctivitis.
This is an inflammation of the transparent skin layer which covers the inner eyelid and the white area of the eyeball.
The symptoms usually include, itching and burning of the eyes, mucoid discharge and redness/inflammation of the eyelids and eye whites.
Pink or a red eye is a common way to refer to an eye infection called conjunctivitis.
Those who have had this condition or seen anyone else dealing with it will have no problem understanding why it is called pink (coloured) eye – in most cases the eye will be very red/pinkish.
This is the most common type of eye infection and most of us will likely experience it and some point in our lives.
In most cases it will be easy to treat and we won’t be left with any lingering problems.
Types of Pink Eye
There are actually different types of pink/conjunctivitis eye and we will be examining each of these closely hear.
It is important to know the type of conjunctivitis we are dealing with so that the correct treatment can be provided.
This is why it is usually necessary to consult a physician and to have the condition properly diagnosed and treated.
Here are just some of the most common causes: Bacterial conjunctivitis is a possible reason for pink red eyes. The bacterial form of condition usually affects both eyes. In the majority of cases it will be the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus that is the culprit for the infection, but it can also be other bacterial infections such as Chlamydia.
The most frequent cause of pink eye is a viral infection. In the majority of cases this form of conjunctivitis will only affect one eye. Those people who have cold or flu like symptoms may be more likely to develop viral conjunctivitis. Special care needs to be taken if you have pink eye due to a viral cause because this is the one that is easiest to pass on to other people – in fact it can be very contagious. If there is any risk that you have viral conjunctivitis then it is advised that you see a doctor for propertreatment.
Chemically Accident Conjunctivitis
Chemically accidents are less likely to be the cause than bacteria or viruses, but it does account for a substantial number of cases of this type of eye problem. There are many chemical hazards that could cause pink eye including; sprays, household cleaners, industrial chemicals, industrial pollutants, smog, smoke, and anything that can get in the eye that doesn’t belong there. The seriousness of chemical conjunctivitis will always depend on the exact substance that has caused it in the first place.
Conjunctivitis Caused by Allergic Reaction
It is possible for conjunctivitis to occur due to an allergic reaction to something. There are many possible allergens that could bring on thesesymptoms including dust, pollen, and animal fur. Those who are usually susceptible to allergies are probably more likely to have pink eye due to an allergic response.
Less Common Causes
There are also less common causes of persistent pink eye such as it occurring due to another underlying condition. Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupis, Crohn’s Disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Reiter’s syndrome, vascular disease, and ulcerative colitis have all been associated with causing pink eye. Another possible reason for pink eye could be a subconjuctival haemorrhage where pressure in the eye has led to blood vessels rupturing in the area.
Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye
The signs and symptoms can vary depending on the type of conjunctivitis that is being dealt with. It may be possible to guess the type of pink eye by these symptoms but it is always advisable to leave the diagnosis to the medical profession. Here are the common signs and symptoms of pink eye.
The signs and symptoms of Bacterial Conjunctivitis:
If the conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection the usual symptomswill be redness, a discharge (this can be green in colour but not always), swelling, and eye discomfort. The discharge can sometimes be a bit unpleasant and it can accumulate quite thickly after people have been asleep for a few hours. In some instances this discharge can cause the eyelids to stick together; this is more common in young children and can be quite upsetting for them. This crusting is usually easy to remove with warm water gently applied to the area. It should be noted that there is not always a discharge with bacterial infection like this; particularly if theinfection is caused by a Chlamydia infection.
The Signs and Symptoms of Viral Pink Eye
With viral conjunctivitis there will be the redness, but the discharge tends to be lighter than what you would expect with the bacterial infection; although there can still be some crusting. As mentioned above viral pink eye only tends to affect one eye. Those with viral conjunctivitis will often complain of watery eyes. There might also be slight discomfort and an itch.
The Signs and Symptoms of Chemical form:
Chemical pink eye can be complicated by burns; in some cases the coronae can turn white. Milder forms of chemical pink eye will producesymptoms such as watery eye, itching, and redness
The Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye Triggered by an Allergy:
If the pink eye has been triggered by an allergy then there can be intense itching, swelling, watery eyes, and swelling. In a lot of instances the individual will also have other allergic reactions as well elsewhere in the body such as sneezing, sore throat, rash, or general itchiness. If the pink eye has been caused by a subconjuctival haemorrhage the red can be particularly red; it can appear as if there has been something very serious has occurred to the eye. In most instances it will be easily treated, but you will want to get it seen to.
Causes of Pink Eye
The causes will vary depending on the type of pink eye that has been diagnosed.
With bacterial conjunctivitis it is usually Staphylococcus aureus that is the culprit but it can also be Chlamydia or other bacterial infections.
Viral conjunctivitis will most often be due to some type of adenovirus. Many people who have this type of eye infection will also have an upper respiratory infection; the common cold is commonly associated with this type of pink eye.
Conjunctivitis can be caused by both acidic and alkaline chemicals; with alkaline burns usually causing the most damage. Almost any allergen can cause the condition including pollens and dust.
Treatment and Management.
The treatment and management will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. If the wrong treatment is commenced it could cause delay to the recovery or even make things worse. Once a doctor has discovered the cause they will then be able to offer advice on the most appropriatetreatment option in each case.
Treatment and Management of Bacterial form
In many instances bacterial conjunctivitis will resolve without any real intervention. If the condition continues for longer than three days though the doctor may decide that antibiotics are going to be required to treat the condition. It is generally agreed that bacterial conjunctivitis will eventually clear without causing any problems, but that using antibiotics can reduce the length of time it takes to recover.
Treatment and Management of Viral form.
The fact that it is a viral infection means that there is no particulartreatment for this type of infection. Artificial tears or other drops might be prescribed and a warm or cold compress is claimed to provide relief. In most instances viral conjunctivitis eye infection should completely disappear within a few weeks.
Treatment and Management of Chemically Induced from.
The most important thing with chemically induced conjunctivitis is thattreatment is sought right away. Depending on the chemical involved this is a medical emergency and failure to receive prompt attention could mean the loss of the eye. The usually way to treat this form of conjunctivitis will be irrigation using a saline or other solution. It is vital that anyone who has gotten chemical into their eyes avoids touching the area just in case this led to the spread of the chemical to the other eye.
Treatment and Management of Allergen Induced form
If the problem has been caused by an allergic reaction then it may be necessary for antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medication (non-steroidal) to be prescribed. In most instances though this won’t be necessary and it will be possible to manage the problem without these medications. Artificial tears can help and so can gently pouring cool water over the eye area; this will help to dilute the allergens thus making them less potent and irritating to the eye.
In most cases of conjunctivitis it may be possible to relive symptoms using a warm compress; although you will not be able to do this with chemically induced conjunctivitis until the eye has been fully irrigated – remember that you are not to put your hands anywhere near the eye. Those people who wear contact lenses will need to remove these until the condition has resolved.
Where the pink conjuncitivitis affected eye which has been caused by another underlying condition it will usually be the case that once this is treated the conjunctivitis will disappear. Until the underlying condition is treated it may be that red eye will keep on returning, or even be present for a lot of the time.
Most people who develop a red eye will not have any complications as a result. It might make life uncomfortable for a few weeks, and we might look a bit odd, but it should come and go without too much bother. . It will just disappear after a week or two and there will be no lingering effects. If the problem seems to be getting worse or shows no signs of clearing up we should return to the doctor for more advice. If there are recurrent problems with pink eye then it may be a sign that there is another underlying condition and this will need to be treated.
How to Avoid Getting Pink Eye.
While a pink/red eye isn’t usually too dangerous we will want to avoid this infection if at all possible.
Here are a few ideas for how we can avoid getting this pink reddish eye:
1. Those who use contact lenses seem to be particularly susceptible for getting conjunctivitis. This is often due to the fact that they haven’t taken proper care when cleaning or storing their lenses and have ended up putting more than the contact lens back into their eye. Always use the proper solution and handle with care. Never use someone else’s contact cleaner, container, or lenses.
2. It is important to avoid touching your eyes, because this is a common way that bacteria and viruses can be past into the eye. It is also a usual way for chemicals to end up in the eye as well; we spill a liquid on our hands, forget about it, and then later rub our eyes.
3. Wash your hands frequently. This is especially important if you have any type of upper respiratory infection. If you spill anything near your hands you will of course want to clean them right away before you end up touching your eyes.
4. When you go swimming make sure that you wear protective goggles because pools are a very common place for people to pick up eye infections.
5. If you suffer from allergies then do your best to keep your home free from allergens such as dust, animal fur, or pollen.
6. Don’t share eye liner or mascara because you could easily be getting more than their makeup around your eye.
7. Never use towels or pillowcases belonging to other people as this is a very common way that people end up picking up bacteria or viruses.
8. Don’t use eye drops or ointments that have been prescribed or used by other people.
9. Maintain a healthy diet and stay fit as this will boost your immune system and ensure that you are better able to fight off any infections.
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