Conjunctivitis is the inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the ultrathin transparent tissue that protects the white part of the eye (sclera) and lines the inside of the eye. It can be caused by a variety of factors, with viruses being the most common culprit.It can be easily passed on to children, especially school children. Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye or sore eyes.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is usually caused by an infection of the conjunctiva. Several factors can cause conjunctivitis. These include:
- Viral (most common)
- Parasites (rarely)
- Pool chlorine
- Use of contact lenses for an extended period of time
- Chemical exposure
- Particular diseases
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
It may be quite obvious when one has conjunctivitis. Commonly symptoms are the following:
- Redness in the sclera or inner eyelid
- Increased amount of tears
- Itchy eyes
- Eye pain or burning eyes
- Soreness of the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Green or white discharge from the eye
- Thick yellow discharge that may crust over the sides of the eyes or over the eyelashes, especially overnight, which may cause eyelids to stick together
- Blurred vision
- Increased photosensitivity
Treatment and Management for Conjunctivitis
It is necessary to seek medical advice for conjunctivitis. But if the doctor cannot be visited as soon as possible, there are ways to reduce symptoms felt by the person and the course of infection. Some of the tips include:
- Apply cold compresses on the eye to soothe it and ease irritation.
- Wash the eyes with cold morning upon waking up and before going to sleep.
- If it is caused by viral infections, eye drops and creams are usually prescribed. Bacterial infections are also prescribed with the same treatment but antibiotics may sometimes be prescribed as well.
- If it is caused by allergic infections, take antihistamines and other anti-inflammatory medications.
- If it is caused by contact lenses, immediately remove the contact lenses.
- If the eye was exposed to chemical, flush the eye with saline solution.
How to Prevent Conjunctivitis
As isin many cases, practicing good hygiene is always a good way to
prevent many diseases, including conjunctivitis. The following tips do not guarantee complete avoidance of conjunctivitis but will help reduce risks for obtaining the infection.
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching the eyes, especially if hands are not clean.
- Do not share towels and washcloths with anyone. Change them daily.
- Avoid sharing eye cosmetics or personal eye-care items with others.
- If one has sore eyes, avoid direct contact.
To learn how to minimize symptoms and treat eye problems, enroll in First Aid Courses.