What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva that lines the eyelids and covers the white part of the eyeball.
Common symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- Eye redness.
- Eye itchiness.
- A gritty feeling in the eye(s).
- Discharge from one or both eyes that can crust over during the night.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Watering eyes.
There are many different possible causes of pink eye, such as:
Viruses: A number of viruses can lead to pink eye, including adenovirus, herpes simplex, varicella-zoster, and more. This is the most contagious form, and symptoms usually last from 4-7 days.
Bacteria: Bacterial strains may cause conjunctivitis. Mucus and pus discharge are common symptoms associated with this form.
Allergies: Allergy-causing substances such as pollen or pet hair can lead to allergic conjunctivitis. Your body creates an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to allergens. This antibody stimulates special cells called mast cells in the mucous lining of your nose, mouth, and eyes to release histamine. This histamine release can create allergy symptoms like pink or red eyes, itching eyes, inflammation, and more.
Irritants: A foreign object or chemical in your eye can also cause conjunctivitis. Flushing the eye to rid it of the irritant can often help.
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Conjunctivitis Treatment Options
The main goal of pink eye treatment is to control symptoms until you feel better. In general, artificial tears, cleaning your eyelids with a wet cloth, and applying warm compresses to the eye several times a day can help to relieve discomfort. If you are diagnosed with pink eye, you should also avoid wearing contact lenses until your eyes are feeling normal again. In cases where pink eye is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not be helpful, so you will just have to let the virus run its course. If pink eye is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will be effective and may come in eyedrop or pill forms. Overall, Dr. Gupta will prescribe the best treatment option depending on the cause of your symptoms.
Tips for Preventing Conjunctivitis
Children tend to get pink eye more often than adults, though adults can also experience symptoms. If you have children at home or tend to develop pink eye often, following these steps can help to prevent developing it in the future.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
- Avoid sharing washcloths, pillowcases, or bath towels with others.
- Do not share makeup with others, especially eyeliner and mascara.
- If your pink eye is often triggered by allergies, try to stay away from allergens, and do not rub your eyes.
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Cataract Surgeon, Opthalmologist, Cornea & External Diseases Specialist
Dr. Archana Gupta is a board certified ophthalmologist. She specializes in cataract, cornea, external diseases and refractive surgery.
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Are you or your child experiencing symptoms associated with conjunctivitis? If so, be sure to contact our Boca Raton & Tamarac, FL office today for timely and effective treatment. Dr. Gupta will work with you to treat your pink eye and have you feeling better in no time!
If you have a question or would like to schedule an appointment, please fill out and submit the form below.
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