Pink eye (Conjunctivitis): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention

Overview Conjunctivitis, otherwise called pink eye, is an irritation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the dainty clear tissue that lies over the white piece of the eye and lines within the eyelid. Children get it a great deal. It tends to be profoundly infectious (it spreads quickly in schools and childcare), yet it’s once […]

Overview

Conjunctivitis, otherwise called pink eye, is an irritation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the dainty clear tissue that lies over the white piece of the eye and lines within the eyelid. Children get it a great deal. It tends to be profoundly infectious (it spreads quickly in schools and childcare), yet it’s once in a while genuine. It’s probably not going to harm your vision, particularly on the off chance that you discover it and treat it rapidly. At the point when you take care to forestall its spread and do all the things your primary care physician suggests, pinkeye clears up with no drawn-out issues.

Viral Conjunctivitis

It is another common type of pink eye that is highly contagious as airborne viruses can be spread through sneezing and coughing. VC can also accompany common viral upper respiratory infections such as measles, the flu or the common cold.

Viral conjunctivitis usually produces a watery discharge. Typically the infection starts in one eye and quickly spreads to the other eye.

Unlike with bacterial infections, antibiotics will not work against viruses. No eye drops or ointments are effective against the common viruses that cause viral conjunctivitis. But viral conjunctivitis is self-limited, which means it will go away by itself after a short time.

Typically with viral conjunctivitis, the third to the fifth days are the worst. After that, eyes begin to improve on their own.

Treatment of viral conjunctivitis usually involves supportive therapies, such as eye drops, that help reduce the symptoms: for example, vasoconstrictors to whiten the eye, decongestants to reduce the surface swelling and antihistamines to reduce occasional itching.

Treatments usually are continued for one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is a common type of pink eye, caused by bacteria that infect the eye through various sources of contamination. The bacteria can be spread through contact with an infected individual, exposure to contaminated surfaces or through other means such as sinus or ear infections.

Allergic conjunctivitis can result when your eyes encounter a substance to which they are overly sensitive, such as pollen in the air.

The most common types of bacteria that causes bacterial conjunctivitis includes Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Bacterial conjunctivitis usually produces a thick eye discharge or pus and can affect one or both eyes.

Just like in any bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria. But most cases of bacterial conjunctivitis will clear up without treatment after 1-2 weeks.

Clinically, the majority of school-age children are treated to allow them to return to their school activities sooner. And most adults prefer to be treated because they do not have the patience to suffer with blurred vision and sore eyes for any length of time.

Antibiotic eye drops may be required if:

  • The infection is severe
  • The patient is immune compromised
  • The infection does not clear up on its own within a week

Treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis is typically accomplished with topical antibiotic eye drops and/or eye ointments. The treatment usually takes from one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection, but the patient will not be infectious 12-24 hours after starting the eye drops (allowing the return to school or work).

Several types of Pinkeye: Viral Pink eye vs Bacterial Pinkeye

There are several types of pink eye, including viral and bacterial:

  • Viral pink eye is caused by viruses like adenovirus and herpes virus. It usually clears up without treatment in 7 to 14 days.
  • Bacterial pink eye is caused by an infection with bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumonia. Antibiotics should start clearing up the infection within 24 hours of starting to use them. Even if you don’t use antibiotics, mild bacterial pink eye almost always improves within 10 days.

Pink eye is usually contagious for as long as you have symptoms like redness, tearing, and crusting. These symptoms should improve within 3 to 7 days.

Using antibiotics for a bacterial infection clears up symptoms faster, but won’t be useful for treating viral infections or other causes of pink eye.

Viral pink eye vs. bacterial pink eye

A virus that causes viral pink eye can spread from your nose to your eyes, or you can catch it when someone sneezes or coughs and the droplets come in contact with your eyes.

Bacteria cause bacterial pink eye. Usually the bacteria spreads to your eyes from your respiratory system or skin. You can also catch bacterial pink eye if you:

  • touch your eye with unclean hands
  • apply makeup that’s been contaminated with bacteria
  • share personal items with someone who has pink eye

Both types of pink eye often start during an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold (virus) or sore throat (virus or bacteria).

Both viral and bacterial pink eye cause the same general symptoms, including:

  • pink or red color in the white of the eyes
  • tearing
  • itchy or scratchy feeling in the eye
  • swelling
  • burning or irritation
  • crusting of the eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning
  • discharge from the eye

Here are a few ways to tell which type of pink eye you have.

Viral pink eye:

  • usually starts in one eye but can spread to the other eye
  • starts with a cold or other respiratory infection
  • causes watery discharge from the eye

Bacterial pink eye:

  • can start with a respiratory infection or an ear infection
  • affects one or both eyes
  • causes a thick discharge (pus) that makes the eyes stick together

Conjunctivitis in babies and children

Pink or red eyes are a sign that your child may have conjunctivitis. This is when the clear lining that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids becomes inflamed. It usually affects both eyes.

Symptoms

The symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • the whites of the eyes turning red or pink
  • sticky eyes with green, yellow or clear discharge
  • itchy, gritty or sore eyes
  • eyes watering more than usual
  • swollen eyes
  • flu-like feelings – sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, aches and pains.

Pink eye in Toddlers

Pink eye is more common among toddlers and young children, who may rub their eyes and transmit infections to other children at preschool, daycare, or on the playground.

Infections, allergies, and irritants, such as sand or chemicals, can cause pink eye. However, viral and bacterial infections are the culprits in most cases.

Pink eye usually clears up by itself, but some people require treatment. Other conditions may mimic symptoms of pink eye, so anyone experiencing persistent or bothersome eye irritation should consider seeing a doctor for advice and diagnosis.

What Causes Pinkeye?

Several things could be to blame, including:

  • Viruses, including the kind that causes usually cold
  • Bacteria
  • Irritants for example shampoos, dust, smoke, and pool chlorine
  • A response to eyedrops
  • An allergic reaction to things like pollen, dirt, or smoke. Or due to a special type of allergy that affects people who wear contact lenses.
  • Fungus, amoebas, and parasites

Conjunctivitis at times results from a sexually transmitted disease (STD ). Gonorrhea can bring on an unusual but dangerous form of bacterial conjunctivitis. That can lead to vision loss if you left untreated. Chlamydia can result in conjunctivitis in adults. If you have chlamydia, gonorrhea, or any bacteria in your body when you give birth, you can pass pinkeye to your baby by your birth canal.

Pinkeye resulted from some bacteria and viruses can increase easily from person to person, but it isn’t a serious health risk if diagnosed timely. If it happens to newborn baby, though, tell a doctor instantly, as it might be an infection that threatens the baby’s eyesight.

Treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis is typically accomplished with topical antibiotic eye drops and/or eye ointments. The treatment usually takes from one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection, but the patient will not be infectious 12-24 hours after starting the eye drops (allowing the return to school or work).

What causes pink eye in Babies?

Pink eye in newborns can be caused by an infection, irritation, or a blocked tear duct.

Infection

During birth, bacteria and viruses in the mother’s vagina can pass to the baby and cause a pink eye infection. This can happen with normal, healthy bacteria that live in the mother’s vagina, or with harmful bacteria and viruses that cause infections, like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you’re pregnant and have an STD, your baby may be at higher risk for pink eye.

Irritation

Newborns can also get pink eye if their eyes are irritated by chemicals, like eye drops that they’re given when they’re born. Doctors give babies eye drops to prevent infections, but these eye drops can also irritate some babies’ eyes. The good news is, this kind of pink eye usually gets better on its own in 1 to 2 days — and it’s much less serious than an infection.

Blocked tear duct

Newborns may also get pink eye from a blocked tear duct. Healthy eyes make tears to keep the eyes moist, then drain them through the tear duct in the corner of the eye. If the tear duct is blocked, your baby’s eye could get irritated, leading to pink eye.

Symptoms of Pinkeye and Signs of pink eye (Eye conjunctivitis symptoms)

They depend on the cause of the inflammation, but may include:

  • Redness in the white part of the eye or inner eyelid is one of the serious symptom of Pinkeye
  • Swollen conjunctiva
  • More teary eyes than usual
  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep. It can make your eyelids stick shut when you wake up a typical conjunctivitis symptom.
  • Green or white discharge coming from the eye
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • More sensitive to light
  • Swollen lymph nodes (often from a viral  infection)

When to Call Your Doctor

Make the call if:

  • There’s a lot of yellow or green discharges from your eye, or if your eyelids are not opening  in the morning
  • You have serious pain in your eye when you look into a bright light
  • Your eyesight is obviously affected by pinkeye
  • You have a high fever, shaking chills, face pain, or vision loss. (These are very unlikely symptoms.)

Conjunctivitis in babies can be due to irritation and a pink eye. This is when the clear lining that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids becomes inflamed. It usually affects both eyes. Call your doctor right away if your newborn has pinkeye, as it could permanently harm their vision.

Your eye doctor may suggest you come into the office to be seen immediately. If you can’t reach your eye doctor, call your primary care doctor if the pinkeye is mild in an adult your symptoms remain less but the redness doesn’t get better within 2 weeks, you need to consult your eye doctor.

How Can Pink eye in kids be treated?

Using cool or warm compresses on the eyes may make your child more comfortable. Clean the edges of the infected eye carefully with warm water and gauze or cotton balls. This can also remove the crusts of dried discharge that make the eyelids stick together in the morning.

If your child wears contact lenses, your doctor or eye doctor may recommend that the lenses not be worn until the infection is gone. Then, disinfect the lenses and their storage case at least twice before letting your child wear them again. If your child wears disposable contact lenses, throw away the current pair and use a new pair after the infection is gone.

Doctors usually recommend keeping kids with contagious conjunctivitis out of school, childcare, or summer camp for a short time.

Pink eye treatment/Conjunctivitis treatment

Pink eye treatment varies with the cause.

Viruses. This sort of pinkeye results from the virus that causes a usual cold. Similarly, as a cold must run its course, the equivalent is valid for this type of pinkeye, which normally keeps going from 4 to 7 days. Keep in mind, it tends to be exceptionally infectious, so do all that you can to stop its spread. Antibiotics won’t resist anything brought about by a virus.

Bacteria. If microscopic organisms, including those related to STDs, caused your pink eye, you’ll take anti-biotic as eye drops, treatments, or pills. You may need to use a special pink eye eye drops or balms to within your eyelid 3 to 4 times each day for 5 to 7 days. You would take pills for a few days. The disease ought to improve inside seven days. Take or utilize the drugs as trained by your doctor, regardless of whether the indications go away.

Irritants. Pinkeye brought about by an irritating substance, use water to wash away the substance from the eye for 5 minutes. Your eyes should start to improve within 4 hours. On the off chance that your conjunctivitis was brought about by acid or alkaline material, for example, bleach promptly washes the eyes with a lot of water and call your primary care doctor right away.

Allergies. Conjunctivitis attached to allergies ought to improve once you get your hypersensitivity treated and maintain a strategic distance from your allergy trigger.

Pink eyes drops

Lubricating eye drops, or “natural tears,” can soothe irritation or burning in the eye.

Eye drops can help relieve the symptoms of all types of pinkeye. They help to flush out allergens, irritants, and discharge.

Pink eye eye drops

Bacterial conjunctivitis is most often treated with ophthalmic antibiotic eyedrops or ointments such as Bleph (sulfacetamide sodium), Moxeza (moxifloxacin), Zymar (gatifloxacin), Romycin (erythromycin), Polytrim (polymyxin/trimethoprim), Ak-Tracin, Bacticin (bacitracin), AK-Poly-Bac, Ocumycin, Polycin-B, Polytracin Ophthalmic, Polysporin Ophthalmic (polymyxin-bacitracin), Besivance (besifloxacin), Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin), Quixin, Iquix (levofloxacin), Ocuflox (ofloxacin), or AzaSite (azithromycin).

For allergic conjunctivitis, antihistamines such as Patanol, Pataday (olopatadine), Lastacaft (alcaftadine), Bepreve (bepotastine), Optivar (azelastine HCl), Elestat (epinastine), Ketotifen (ketotifen fumarate), and Emadine (emedastine), or mast cell stabilizers such as Opticrom (cromolyn sodium), Alocril (nedocromil), Alomide (lodoxamide tromethamine), and Alamast (pemirolast) may be prescribed to treat allergy symptoms such as itching of the eye.

What Can I Do to Relieve Symptoms of Pinkeye?

Many of them comes down to cleanliness.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, especially before eating can safe you from viral pink eye.

Keep your eyes clean. Wash away any discharge from your eyes multiple times a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel. Afterward, waste the cotton ball or paper towel and wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Wash or change your pillowcase every day until the infection finishes. When you do the laundry, clean your bed sheets, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent. Keep your towels, washcloths, and pillows separate from others.

Don ’t touch or rub your infected eye with your fingers. keep tissues to wipe.

Don ’t wear, and never share, eye makeup, eye drops, or contact lenses. Wear glasses. And discard disposable lenses, or be certain to clean extended-wear lenses and all eyewear holders.

Use a warm compress, such as a washcloth dipped in warm water. Put it on your eye for a few minutes 3 to 4 times a day. This helps eases the pain and break up some of the crust that may form on your eyelashes.

Limit eyedrops. Don’t use pink eye drops for more than a few days until your eye doctor suggests you. That could make the redness worse.

Don’t put a patch over your eye. It may worsen the condition of infection.

Protect your eyes from dust and other things that can cause irritation to them.

What About Work and School?

Pink eye in kids is bacterial eye infection which may harmful for them, keep them home from school or daycare until they are no longer harmful. It’s normally safe to return to school when symptoms are no more. But maintain good hygiene!

Pinkeye can increase in areas where people live, work, and play together. For instance, if you share a computer or other gear with others, make sure you wash your hand first before you touch your face most importantly during cold and flu season.

What Are the Complications of Pinkeye?

Normally, a pink eye in toddlers and adults goes on its own or after you take any medicines that doctor prescribes, with no lasting problems. Mild pinkeye in babies and adults is nearly always harmless and gets better without treatment.

But some types of conjunctivitis can become serious and sight-threatening because they can damage your cornea. They include conjunctivitis caused by gonorrhea, chlamydia or some strains of the adenovirus.

 

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