Conjunctivitis Or Pink Eye – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the outer membrane of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelid.
What causes conjunctivitis?
Viral and bacterial infections most often cause conjunctivitis or pink eye. This condition can also occur due to an irritant, dry eye, or an allergy.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed due to a reaction to pollen, dander, mold, or other allergy-causing substances.
Anything that irritates the eye can also cause conjunctivitis or pinkeye.
One or more of the following things can irritate the eye causing conjunctivitis or pink eye:
- Chemical exposure.
- Use of contact lenses (often with extended-wear lenses).
- Dry eyes, which can develop when the eye is unable to maintain a healthy coating of tears. Dry eyes may be caused by wind or sun, heat, problems with your eyelids, or certain rare immune disorders.
What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis?
The following are the symptoms of conjunctivitis:
- Redness in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Crusts on the eyelid (mostly caused by bacteria)
- Eye pain
- Gritty feeling in the eyes
- Increased tearing
- Itching of the eye
How is conjunctivitis diagnosed?
Your eye doctor will examine your eyes and swab the conjunctiva to get a sample for analysis.
How is conjunctivitis treated?
Treatment of conjunctivitis or pinkeye depends on what caused the condition.
Allergic conjunctivitis may go away on its own when you avoid your allergy triggers. It may improve when allergies are treated. Cool compresses may help soothe allergic conjunctivitis.
Your eye doctor will treat conjunctivitis or pinkeye caused by bacteria with antibiotic medicines. These are most often given in the form of eye drops.
Viral conjunctivitis or pink eye will go away on its own without antibiotics. Mild steroid eye drops may help ease discomfort.
Your eye doctor will treat dry eyes with artificial tears or ointments.
The following self-care steps may provide relief to pinkeye:
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke, direct wind, and air conditioning.
- Use a humidifier in the winter.
- Limit medicines that may dry you out and worsen your symptoms.
- Clean eyelashes regularly and apply warm compresses.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.