Pink Eye is one of the most common ocular maladies. In fact, it is likely that you have already experienced this infection in your life. A family will know the frustration of trying to deal with a wave of conjunctivitis in the home. How you treat the infection depends on the type of conjunctivitis.
Your eye is protected by two membranes, one that covers the inside of the eyelid and a second that covers the outside of the eyeball. These two membranes are connected along one side, creating a protective layer that keeps debris out and keeps things like contacts from sliding from the eyeball into the eye socket. These two membranes are known as the conjunctiva.
There are generally three types of pink eye, bacterial, viral, and allergic. They present in a similar way but have different symptoms and treatments. Since there are different ways to treat conjunctivitis, it is imperative that you do not try to treat it without a diagnosis. Visit us or your family doctor right away if you think you may have pink eye.
This is caused by bacteria and is characterized by red, puffy eyes and a thick, yellowish discharge. If there is enough discharge to seal your eyelids shut, your eyes may be difficult to open, especially in the morning. It is extremely contagious and must be treated with antibiotics. Anyone suffering from bacterial pink eye should stay home to prevent spreading the infection, unless it is absolutely necessary to leave the house.
Because bacterial conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, it is important to take action in your home. One case of bacterial pink eye can quickly spread through the entire family. Wash all bedding, towels, or toys that may have come into contact with the infected eye. Be sure to have everyone wash their hand thoroughly and keep your children from putting their fingers in their eyes or mouth as much as possible.
This form of conjunctivitis is also very contagious, but this variety is caused by a virus. Your eyes become sensitive to light, red, itchy, puffy, and may have some discharge. A virus can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact, and cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Like the common cold, viral conjunctivitis must run its course. Eating right, drinking fluids, and lots of rest can be beneficial. Unfortunately, this form is very contagious and can spread through the household very quickly. Kids should not go to school and adults need to stay home from work.
This form of pink eye is actually an allergic reaction that creates inflammation of the conjunctiva. As with other allergic reactions, your body is responding to stimuli as though it is harmful. Common triggers are pollen, dander, and dust. Often, environmental factors cause allergic pink eye seasonally.
This form is, thankfully, not contagious. It can be treated with antihistamines, which should be kept with you during spring or fall when flare-ups are most common. If you suffer from allergic conjunctivitis regularly, talk to us about what treatment options are available to fight it.
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