What Does Pink Eye Look Like?
What is conjunctivitis?
What Is Pink Eye, or Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is known to be caused due to an inflammation of the membranes or the conjunctiva. It is an infection that affects the transparent membrane or the conjunctiva that is known to line the eyelid as well as cover the white part of the eyeball. When the small blood vessels which are present in the conjunctiva tend to become inflamed, it becomes visible, due to which it leads to the whites of the eyes to appear pink or red. Pink eye is known to be caused either because of a bacterial infection or it can be a viral infection. It can also be caused due to an allergic reaction. In the case of small babies, it can be due to an incompletely opened tear duct. Pink eye is known to be irritating, but it would rarely cause any negative reaction to the vision. There are various treatment options which are available so as to ease the discomfort caused due to this condition. Also, one should remember that pink eye is contagious, hence, early diagnosis as well as treatment can help in reducing the spread of this condition to other individuals.
The viral and bacterial form of pink eye is known to be quite common during the childhood phase of life, but they have a tendency to occur in adults as well. Pink eye is known to occur in people of any age.
When the pink eye has been caused due to a viral infection, the symptoms are known to be mostly associated with a watery form of discharge from the eye. This discharge is not green or yellow in color, and it can usually resemble an increased form of tears or the eyes turning out to be too watery. The viral form of pink eye is known to be quite common during the early spring season or the late fall. There are other symptoms also present which are related to cold symptoms, such as a runny nose and sinusitis congestion. The eyelids of the individual would become puffy or swollen, wherein the inner eyelids would turn out to be red in color. In certain cases, the individual would feel a lot of pain when they look at bright lights. The viral form of pink eye is very contagious, and it would remain so for at least 10 to 12 days after the onset of the symptoms. The symptoms in the case of viral pink eye are known to last for one to two weeks’ time.
The symptoms caused due to bacterial pink eye would include itching in the eyes, redness of the eyes, swelling, and the lymph nodes present in front of the ears would swell as well. There would also be a moderate to large amount of discharge or oozing from the eye. This discharge would be mostly yellow or green in color. The discharge normally accumulates after sleeping, hence, the children who are affected generally wake up with crusty eyelashes and normally they are scared or unhappy that their eyelids are stuck to each other. It would then need a clean cloth to remove this discharge.
There are various reasons leading to pink eye and the following are a few of them:
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection
- Allergic reaction
- A chemical splash onto the eye
- The presence of a foreign object in the eye
- In the case of newborn babies, it can be caused due to a blocked tear duct
Allergic form of conjunctivitis: When there is allergic conjunctivitis, it is known to affect both eyes of the individual, and it is said to be mostly caused due to a response to an allergen, which can also include pollen. When an allergen comes into contact with the body, the body system starts to produce an antibody which is called immunoglobulin, and this antibody is known to trigger special mast cells in the mucous lining of the eyes as well as the airways so as to release the inflammation-causing substance known as histamines. If you suffer from the allergic form of conjunctivitis, there is a tendency to experience symptoms such as tearing, itching, sneezing, watery eyes, inflammation of the eyes, and nasal discharge. Most of the time, the allergic conjunctivitis can be controlled with the help of allergy eye drops.
Viral infection: One of the leading cause of inflamed and red eyes is a viral infection. A common type of virus which can lead to a pink eye infection is known as adenovirus. Some of the other viruses which are also known to cause pink eye are poxvirus, herpes simplex virus, or HSV, human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and picornavirus.
Bacteria: The common types of bacteria which can lead to a pink eye infection are staphylococci and streptococci. Other bacteria, such as gonococci and chlamydia, can also cause a pink eye infection.
Irritation to the eyes: When there is any kind of irritation to the eye due to a chemical splash, or when a foreign object enters the eye, it can also be associated with a pink eye infection. In certain cases, when one flushes or cleans the eye to get rid of the object or the chemical, it can lead to redness and irritation in the eye. A few of the symptoms may include watery discharge or a mucous discharge which would usually clear up on its own within a day.
The main aim of the treatment for pink eye is to provide relief for the individual from the symptoms caused due to the infection. The doctor can recommend the use of artificial tears, to clean the eyelids with the help of a clean, wet cloth, and also to apply warm or cold compresses, which should be done several times a day. If the pink eye is caused due to a viral infection, it may not need an antibiotic, but it is better to visit the doctor since, in certain cases, this form of pink eye can also be associated with a cornea infection. This infection should be timely and correctly determined so that apt treatment can be followed. In the case of bacterial conjunctivitis, it can be treated with the help of repeated warm, clean cloths, to be applied on the eyelids. One would need to take antibiotics as well or apply a certain ointment which is prescribed by the doctor. One should not go in for medication that has been prescribed by someone else apart from the doctor, since it can turn out to be inappropriate for the current situation. In the case of a bacterial infection, there are various reasons why one must not delay in visiting the doctor: first is, in the case of a bacterial infection, an antibiotic would be required to fight off the infection. Some of the topical ophthalmic or eye drops which are often used in the case of a pink eye infection are gatifloxacin, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin or erythromycin, and others. If you wear contact lenses, the doctor would advise you to stop using them until the infection is gone completely. The doctor would mostly recommend throwing away those lenses in case they are the disposable ones. It is important to disinfect those hard lenses before you start to use them. Any type of eye makeup that was used prior to the illness should be replaced. If the doctor finds out that the viral form of pink eye has been caused due to the herpes simplex virus, they may recommend the use of antiviral medications.
If the pink eye or the conjunctivitis has been caused due to an allergy, the doctor can prescribe various eye drops for controlling the allergic reactions, such as antihistamines or decongestants.