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Pink Eye - Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Lochana
and medically reviewed by Dr. Prashant Koranmath

Published on May 30, 2020 and last reviewed on Jun 01, 2020   -  3 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Pink eye, otherwise called conjunctivitis, is a temporary eye infection and is not a serious health issue. Read the article further to know about its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Pink Eye - Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What Is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane of the eye. It is also known as conjunctivitis. It is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with eye secretions. When the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva get infected and inflamed, the eye appears red or pinkish.

This infection is commonly caused by bacteria, viruses, allergic reactions, or an incompletely opened tear duct in babies. Conjunctivitis rarely causes vision problems. Eye discomfort and other symptoms can be treated with the help of medicines. As it is a highly contagious condition, early diagnosis and treatment are a must.

What Causes Pink Eye?

  • Viral and bacterial infection.

  • Fungi, amoeba and other parasites.

  • Irritants like shampoo and smoke.

  • Gonorrhea can sometimes be the reason.

  • Allergic reactions to pollen grains, contact lenses, chlorine added to swimming pools.

What Are the Types?

What Are the Symptoms?

Either one or both the eyes may be affected.

  • Redness and pain.

  • Itching sensation.

  • Eyes may be watering a lot.

  • Sensitivity to eyes.

  • Discharge from the eyes which may be yellow or white.

  • Crusting of eyelids and eyelashes.

  • Running nose.

  • Earache, ear infection, and ear discharge.

  • Frequently blinking an eye.

  • Puffy eyelids.

  • Enlargement of the lymph node.

What Is a Bacterial Pink Eye?

Bacterial pink eye is caused by bacteria which spreads to the eyes from the skin and respiratory system. It begins as an ear infection or respiratory infection. It can affect one or both the eyes. Antibiotic eye drops or topical application of antibiotic ointments will help. Perform the same under proper guidance from a doctor.

What Is a Viral Pink Eye?

Viral pink eye is caused mostly by Herpes simplex virus or varicella-zoster virus. It can affect one or both the eyes. It begins with running nose and cold. It produces a watery discharge. Heals well with anti-viral drugs.

What Is the Diagnosis for a Pink Eye?

A doctor can diagnose pink eye by questioning the patient about the symptoms and other related health histories. If the symptoms are severe, culture tests performed in the laboratory might be required.

What Is the Treatment of Pink Eye?

The treatment options for pink eye are:

  • Give warm compress or cold compress to the eye. A clean and hygienic cloth should be used for this purpose.

  • It does not alter the clarity of vision. So do not panic.

  • Over-the-counter medication eye drop, such as antihistamines and anti-inflammatory, can be prescribed.

  • People who have a bacterial pink eye might notice a thick discharge, or pus, leaking from the eye that it is affecting. Pus might dry quickly, forming a crust along the edges of the eyelids. People may have difficulty opening their eyes, especially in the morning. Use a warm, damp cloth to remove pus from around the eye and lashes.

Pink Eye in Toddlers:

Pink eye is very common among toddlers because they are highly prone to infection as they have the habit of playing in the ground. The immunity of the kids would not have been properly developed, and that is how they are easily affected. The irritants such as sand or chemical substances, cause the pink eye to the toddler. It usually resolves by itself and does not require any specific treatment. It heals within five to ten days. If there is continuous pain or irritation, a mild dose of antibiotics can be given. Pink eye due to viral infection lasts longer up to fourteen days. If a toddler is affected, then they should be allowed to stay at home, as it might infect the other kids. Educate the child to wash the eyes with a clean and dry cloth. Using artificial tears can give the child temporary relief.

When Do You Have to Consult a Doctor?

Pink eye is typically not a serious problem. If there is no pain, then one can wait for a day for the redness to subside. If there is continuous redness, pain, and swelling, you might need help from a doctor. Call a doctor online for more information.

Prevention:

  • Do not be around someone who already has a pink eye.

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after using washrooms.

  • Do not share your personal towels, pillows, and soaps.

  • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing.

  • Wear goggles when swimming.

  • Spread of infection happens by direct hand-to-eye contact. Avoid direct contact with the infected site. Avoid giving handshakes to infected people.

  • Indirect contact with objects contaminated by the infected person should be avoided.

  • Remove your contact lenses before taking a shower.

  • Do not rub your eyes while you have placed a contact lens in your eye.

  • Avoid sharing make-up kits and mascara.

 

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Last reviewed at:
01 Jun 2020  -  3 min read

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