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Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

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Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a very common condition of your eye. As the medical terminology suggests, it is the inflammation of the conjunctiva – the mucous membrane present between your eyelid and white potion of the eye.


Symptoms associated with pink eye

  • Simply put, your eyes appear pink and so it is known as pink eye. 
  • Redness and itchiness in eyes
  • Sensing grittiness in eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Lot of tearing from eyes
  • Yellowish or greenish discharge from eyes (usually in bacterial infection)
  • Crustiness in eyes due to drying of discharge (bacterial infection)
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Runny nose and sneezing (mostly in case of viral and allergic infections)


Causes of pink eye

Pink eye or conjunctivitis can occur in people of all age groups ranging from babies to adults to old. The immune system of newborn babies is weak and hence they are vulnerable to infections. However, pink eye is mostly found in school going kids and those working in public places due to its contagious nature. 

The reasons are:
  • Irritation in your eyes from chemicals, dust, smoke, fumes, etc., excessive rubbing of eye, touching eyes with unclean hands, etc.
  • Inflammation can be caused by allergens coming in contact with the conjunctiva. The allergens could be mold, pet dander, pollen, etc.
  • Viral and bacterial infections in the conjunctiva are contagious forms. Bacterial pink eye is mostly caused by  staph infection, gonorrhoea, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)


When to see a doctor

You should see a doctor when you notice that the pinkish tinge in your eyes and the irritation last for more than a day or two.


Diagnosis of pink eyes

Your doctor will physically inspect your eyes, preferably with a slit lamp. If your doctor assumes the infection is severe then a sample of discharge would be collected for laboratory analysis. Your doctor can identify the underlying cause of pink eye from the characteristic symptoms.


Treatment of pink eyes

The symptoms usually clear up on own, within 3-7 days and your doctor might not prescribe any medicines, especially for viral infections. However, if the allergic response or the bacterial infection is causing lot of problems to your eyes, then antihistamine eye drops or antibacterial eye drops would be given.  Make sure you apply them in your eyes to as directed by your doctor.

You won’t be allowed to wear contact lens until the infection goes away.

Your doctor will offer you some self care advices which you need to follow at home or outdoors. We explain them below:


Home remedies and preventing pink eyes

  • Do not touch your eyes with unclean hands
  • Restrain from rubbing or scratching your eyes
  • Carry a soft napkin or hanky with you to wipe off tears and discharge
  • You can wear goggles while stepping out to protect your eyes
  • You can compress your eyes gently with a cotton or soft cloth dipped in cold/lukewarm water to get rid of the crust
  • As a prevention measure, do not share your personal care items, eye cosmetics (eye liner, mascara, etc.), lenses or glasses, etc.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: July 02, 2014

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