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Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis, which is more commonly called pink eye, is an infectious inflammation of the eye. The membrane lining of the eyelids are infected with a bacteria, causing swelling, redness, and typically an oozing pus like leaking from the eye. Pink eye is most common in children, especially children who attend day care or the first few years of school.

CONJUNCTIVITIS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include eye pain, increased tearing, redness, swelling, a gritty feeling in the eye, itching, blurry vision, stickiness when opening the eye, sensitivity to light, and a crust the forms along the eyelid overnight.

CONJUNCTIVITIS CAUSES

Conjunctiva, which is the membrane lining the eyelids, becomes exposed to the virus which causes conjunctivitis most often. While pink eye can be caused by a virus, fungus, bacteria, parasites, or Chlamydia, typically the culprit is a viral infection. Bacteria are rarely the cause of conjunctivitis. Newborns can be affected while in the birth canal, and born with conjunctivitis. This condition must be treated immediately in newborns to preserve eyesight. Conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, certain systemic diseases, as well as the long term use of improperly cleaned contact lenses and chemical exposure.
Conjunctivitis
Image: Conjunctivitis

CONJUNCTIVITIS RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for conjunctivitis include high exposure to bacteria such as a lot of people confined to small areas, or any other setting where the spread of germs is likely. Contact lens use, systemic diseases, and the presence of numerous young children are considered risk factors. The spread of pink eye can be significantly decreased with proper and frequent hand washing.

CONJUNCTIVITIS DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing conjunctivitis requires an examination of the eye by either a physician or an ophthalmologist. A swab of the conjunctiva is typically taken to determine the presence of conjunctivitis. Analysis will typically reveal the presence of bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other irritant causing the conjunctivitis.

CONJUNCTIVITIS SIDE EFFECTS

The most serious complication associated with pink eye occurs in infants who are born with it and may lose their eyesight is treatment is not started immediately after birth. Beyond infancy, re-infection is possible for either a household or an entire school of preventative measures are not followed. Children with pink eye should be kept home from school in order to help prevent the spread of the disease.

CONJUNCTIVITIS TREATMENT

Treating pink eye is often determined by the cause of the conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis caused by an allergy is likely to disappear on its own once the allergen is removed. Bacterial infections call for antibiotics, typically given through an eye dropper directly into the affected eye. Viral conjunctivitis will not benefit from antibiotics and is likely to resolve on its own. Chemical enhanced conjunctivitis is also likely to dissipate on its own once the eye has been thoroughly cleaned.
Pink eyes
Image: Pink eyes


Conjunctivitis is typically irritating and uncomfortable, but rarely dangerous. A health care professional should be contacted if symptoms don’t improve within about 2 to 3 days. It can take a week for pink eye to clear on its own. Eye compresses can help alleviate discomfort.

When someone in the household has come down with conjunctivitis, the individual as well as family members should practice good hand washing habits, keep the hands away from the eyes, change pillow cases and restore eye cosmetics frequently, eliminate the sharing of eye cosmetics, towels, and handkerchiefs, and handle and cleanse contact lenses carefully and properly.


Small children who get conjunctivitis are typically very uncomfortable and spread it to the other eye through rubbing. Rubbing one eye can leave the germs which cause conjunctivitis on the hand and then is spread to the other eye. Anesthetic eye drops can help this situation. Other helpful tips for young children with conjunctivitis are eye compresses, but make sure they are discarded after one use, and even fun eye patches if only worn for a short time. Never give a child aspirin with a viral infection.

Conjunctivitis tends to hit a school or day care with a vengeance. It is very important that children with pink eye are kept home while the conjunctivitis is present to help control the breakout. It is not uncommon in a day care for one child to give conjunctivitis to another until all children have it. Responsible protection is required when it comes to young children in schools and day care center and preventing the spread of conjunctivitis.
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