Conjunctivitis, likewise known as pink eyes, is the swollen irritation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a thin, clear membrane that covers the sclera, which is the white part of the eye. The conjunctiva produces mucus and a small number of tears that lubricate the eye. It prevents the entrance of microbes into the eyes and maintains immune defenses.
Here Are Signs And Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis:
- Pink, reddish color looking eyes.
- Stuck shut-eye after sleeping that has to be manually separated with hands
- Itchy eye/ scratchiness.
- Pain, burning sensation in the affected eye
- Watery eyes (Frequent tearing of the affected eye)
- Sensitive to light
- Discharge (pus or mucus) from the eye
- Swelling of the sclera
- Fever in the infectious cause of conjunctivitis
Here Are the Causes of conjunctivitis:
- Allergic conjunctivitis: Is caused by exposures to allergens, such as pollens, dust, perfume, smoke, dander from animals, mascara, eyelash gels, and glue. The most regular cause of conjunctivitis is allergic reactions to allergens. It affects about 40% of the general population.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: occur rapidly and present with sticky pus – looking discharge that starts in one eye and spread to the other eye within days. It causes eyelids to stick together. The primary culprits are staphylococcus, streptococcus, Haemophilus influenza, Neisseria gonorrhoeae/ meningitides, corynebacterium diphtheria, Moraxella lacunata, and chlamydia trachomatis.
- Chemical: mild burns caused by acidic and alkaline substances lead to painful red eyes.
- Viral conjunctivitis: This is the presence of diffuse pinkness of eye that often starts after a common cold or sore throat. The major viral agents involved are Adenoviruses,(adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis) herpes simplex virus (herpetic keratoconjunctivitis), and enteroviruses (acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis).
- Dry eyes: for example, in Scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Reactive arthritis: one of the significant symptoms of reactive arthritis is conjunctivitis that occurs as a result of a reaction to a previous infectious process in the body that happened few weeks before the onset of reactive symptoms.
Prevention of Conjunctivitis:
Following these easy rules for good hygiene can help reduce your risk of getting conjunctivitis:
- Avoid touching your eyes with your hands.
- Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before you unconsciously touch your eyes with infected hands.
- Avoid allergens that trigger itching of eyes and tearing of eyes.
- Do vaccination against viruses and bacteria that can cause conjunctivitis.
- Keep doors and windows close to combat dust.
- Maintain a clean, dust-free home.
Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis Include:
- Bacterial culture: swab taken from the corners of the affected eye.
- Patch test: for allergic conjunctivitis to identity allergen
- Slit-lamp (biomicroscope)
- Litmus paper: is used to diagnose the chemical cause of conjunctivitis.
Treatment of Conjunctivitis
The treatment depends on the cause. Conjunctivitis manifestations are usually managed with antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and mast cell stabilizers such as cromolyn.
- Viral cause: it usually requires no treatment and resolves on its own.
- Chemical cause: the eye is flush with saline solution, and anesthetic eye drops are used to reduce pain.
- Allergic cause: (antihistamines, NSAIDs, steroids)
- Dry eyes (artificial tears).
- Bacterial cause: usually gets better without treatments but antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones and sulfonamide antibiotics can be used for 7-10 days.
- Reactive arthritis: is treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline and local corticosteroids.
Next, read about the home remedies for pink eye (Conjunctivitis).