Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the thin, clear outer coating of the white part of the eye and the inner part of the eyelids. It can affect anyone, but children and those who work with children are the most susceptible to this contagious condition. Fortunately, pink eye is easily treated with proper eye care.
Causes of Pink Eye
Any irritant to the eyes can cause the blood vessels within the conjunctiva to dilate, creating a bloodshot effect. Pollen, dust, and animal hair or dander can all lead to red, itchy, or teary eyes. This form of pink eye is not viral or contagious. Often, it is seasonal and can be treated with over-the-counter allergy medications.
2. Viral Conjunctivitis
This form of pink eye is caused by a virus and is very contagious. Like other viral infections, such as colds, the condition will often clear up on its own. And, like the common cold, can be spread by coughing or sneezing. The symptoms are watery, itchy eyes and sometimes light sensitivity. You don’t usually need medical attention for this condition, though it may last several days. Eye care would include natural eye washes such as a cool chamomile tea or application of cool washcloths to the eyes several times a day.
3. Bacterial Conjunctivitis
This is the more serious form of pink eye and is caused by bacteria. It must be treated or serious damage to the eye may occur. Symptoms include a greenish-yellow viscous discharge in the corner of the eye or that causes your eyelids to stick together when you wake up. It is spread through direct contact, usually via the hands. Eye care treatments include antibiotic creams or drops that your optometrist or doctor can prescribe.
Pink eye is a common condition that is not dangerous when treated properly. For all your eye care needs, consult Virginia Ramsey Lind OD in Fairbanks, AK, who has served her community for over 29 years. She specializes in preventive vision care, eye diseases, and fitting her clients with the perfect glasses frames or contacts. Call (907) 456-8028 to make an appointment or go to her Facebook page for reviews and articles.