Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults. Often called “pink eye,” it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white of the eyeball, and helps keep the eyelid and eyeball moist. Symptoms of pink eye include:
Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
Increased amount of tears and/or mucous
Itchy eyes
Discomfort
Blurred vision
Swelling of the eyelid

In allergic conjunctivitis these symptoms are usually present in both eyes (not always equally). Viruses, bacteria, irritating substances (shampoo, dirt, smoke, pool chlorine), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or allergens (substances that cause allergies) can all cause conjunctivitis. Pink eye caused by bacteria, viruses, or STDs can spread easily from person to person but is not a serious health risk if diagnosed promptly; allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.
Tips:
Don’t touch or rub the affected eye(s).
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
Wash your bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent to reduce allergens.
Avoid wearing eye makeup.
Don’t share eye makeup with anyone else.
Never wear another person’s contact lens.
Do not share face towels with others.
Wear glasses instead of contact lenses to reduce irritation.
Wash your hands before applying the eye drops or ointment to your eye or your child’s eye.
Do not use eye drops that were used in an infected eye in a non-infected eye.

An appointment needs to made for our doctors to properly diagnose and treat conjunctivitis.
It is important to find out whether your pink eye is caused by allergies or infection because each condition has different treatments. Allergy-associated pink eye may disappear completely, either when the allergy is treated with antihistamines, or when the allergen is removed. Our doctors may recommend you use one or more of the following:
Ocular (topical) decongestants: These medicines reduce redness by constricting small blood vessels in the eye. They are not recommended for long-term use. Using these drops for more than a few days can actually worsen symptoms.
Ocular (topical) antihistamines: These medicines reduce redness, swelling, and itching by blocking the actions of histamine, the chemical that causes these symptoms of allergy. They are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.
Ocular (topical) steroids: When other medicines fail, your doctor may prescribe steroid eye drops to relieve the symptoms of conjunctivitis. These must be used with the supervision of your doctor since they can cause elevated pressure inside of the eye, which can lead to vision damage. Your doctor also must check for viral eye infections, such as herpes, before ocular steroids are used
Ocular (topical) mast cell stabilizers (such as Cromolyn): This medicine works by preventing specialized cells from releasing histamine. It works best when started before symptoms occur.
Systemic (oral) versions of the above medications: These are used for severe cases.

To relieve symptoms of “allergy eyes”:
Remove contact lenses, if you wear them.
Place cold compresses on your eyes.
Try nonprescription “artificial tears,” a type of eye drop that may help relieve itching and burning (note: Other types of eye drops may irritate the eyes and should not be used). Do not use the same bottle of drops in the other eye if it is not affected.
The best defense against allergic pink eye is a good offense: Try to avoid substances that trigger your allergies.
Avoid rubbing the eyes. Eye rubbing and scratching stimulates blood flow to the area which accelerates the allergic reaction.

An appointment needs to made for our doctors to properly diagnose and treat conjunctivitis.

photo credit: Thine Iris via photopin (license)

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