Inflammation in the top layer of the white portion of the eye, the unsightly discharge and the really terrible feeling of the eyes being itchy and painful at the same time – almost every person I know, me included, has fallen prey to the painful and agonizing condition of Pink-eye or Conjunctivitis. This condition can be the result of an allergy or the onslaught of a virus or bacteria or due to dust or debris getting into the eyes. It’s not pleasant and as winter ebbs and summer approaches this condition will begin to make an appearance. We recommend extra caution especially for people who work outdoors and those who use contact lenses. Lenses must not be worn if you have conjunctivitis. Do not rub your eyes even though the urge is extremely strong as this would only worsen the condition. For the ‘safety of your eyes wear dark goggles or wrap goggles and remember to wipe the discharge with a clean tissue and discard it after using once or twice.
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Types of Conjunctivitis
- Viral Conjunctivitis – As the names suggests it is caused by a virus and is in fact the same virus that causes the highly exasperating common cold. This form of pink-eye is extremely communicable and infectious and is characterized by a thin slimy discharge. Due to the resilience of this virus there are no ointments or eye drops that can dissipate the symptoms. Just like the common cold, this infection too will subside after a short period. Typically the most harassing days are third through to the fifth, after which the condition begins to ebb.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis – Again extremely contagious but caused by bacteria (too many tongue-twisting names to mention) and the eyes continually discharge a thick mucus or pus. There are antibiotic ointments or eye drops which must be used only after consultation with your doctor. This kind of pink-eye takes about 1 or 2 weeks to clear up with medication, but would depend on the acuteness of the infection.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis – This condition can be set off by any kind of allergens particularly pollen, dust mites and others and is symptomatic with itchy eyes. Anti-allergic eye drops are effective to reduce the symptoms. The best prevention is to keep away from things that cause allergies to become active. This kind of pink-eye is not infectious.
Dos and Don’ts for all Types of Pink-eye
- The most common sense ‘do’ is to wash hands regularly especially after touching your eyes. Keep soft tissue and a hand sanitizer handy at all times.
- Ensure that you are getting enough Vitamin A in your diet to ensure the optimal health of your eyes. Deficiency of Vitamin A is known to often result in pink-eye. Eat up!
- Use a cold or warm compress over your eyes, whichever is soothing. A clean soft cloth dipped in cold water can be applied to the eyes for relief. Soak tea bags in warm water, squeeze out the excess water and use the warm tea bags on your eyes for relief. Use separate compresses for both eyes, for added precaution.
- Do not go swimming if you are suffering from pink-eye.
- Children should not be sent to school or to play till the symptoms disappear. This is to ensure that the child does not strain the eyes and also reduces the risk of the infection spreading to others.
Remember never to self-medicate but always seek medical advice. Your eyes are precious, take care of them.
Image Courtesy for Featured Image: advancedvisioncare.co.uk