Conjunctivitis: Types, Symptoms, and Management
What is conjunctivitis ?
When the conjunctiva, a thin, transparent layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed or infected, it is known as conjunctivitis, which is also referred to as pink eye.
Viral or bacterial infection and an allergic response to irritants like pollen, dust, or animal dander can contribute to this condition. It is most frequently discovered in children and can spread quickly.
What are the causes?
There are many potential causes of pink eye, including:
- The viruses that cause the flu or the common cold can also cause this, which is the most frequent reason.
- Infections with bacteria can also result in pink eye. Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae are common bacteria types.
- Allergies to substances like dust mites, pollen, and cat dander.
- Exposure to irritants like smog, smoke, or chemicals.
Wearing contact lenses
- Not cleaning the contact lenses correctly or wearing them for long periods.
- Birth-related infection.
- Inflammatory conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis may occasionally bring it on.
Types of Conjunctivitis
- This is the most prevalent kind and is brought on by viruses like adenovirus. It spreads rapidly and easily from person to person and is highly contagious.
- It may also happen if you have a cold and blow your nose too forcefully. Your respiratory system pushes the virus to your eyes.
- Viruses like the enterovirus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes simplex virus can also bring it on.
- It is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is easily spread by contacting an infected person or contaminated items.
- Caused by an allergic response to dust, pollen, or pet dander. This kind usually affects both eyes and is not contagious.
- Caused by contact with allergens like smoke, air pollution, or pool chlorine.
Conjunctivitis in new-born.
- Usually occurs within the first ten days of life in new born infants. A virus or bacteria might bring it on the woman contracted while giving birth.
How do I know if I have a pink eye?
Depending on what caused the inflammation, different symptoms may be present. However, a few widespread signs include:
- Color: Eye whites may look pink or red when they are red.
- Swelling: The cornea may swell, giving the eyes a puffy appearance.
- Discharge: Depending on the pink eye type, there may be an ocular discharge. It can be thin, watery, yellow, green, or vicious.
- Itching: The eyes might itch, and you might feel compelled to massage them.
- A searing or stinging sensation may be experienced in the eyes.
- Light sensitivity: The eyes may be light-sensitive, making bright interior and outdoor environments uncomfortable.
- Vision blur: In some circumstances, it may result in fuzzy or blurry vision.
Diagnosis of conjunctivitis
- A physical examination of the eyes, an analysis of the patient’s symptoms, and a review of their medical background are usually required for the diagnosis.
- The doctor might inquire about a recent interaction with someone with an eye infection or recent exposure to allergens like pollen or pet dander.
- The doctor may occasionally take a sample of the discharge from the eye and send it to a lab for analysis to identify the reason. A swab or a tiny discharge piece may be used for this.
- Fluorescein is a specialised dye that the doctor may use to look for any abrasions or alien objects on the eye’s surface.
- In this method, a tiny quantity of the dye is applied to an affected eye, and any areas stained by the dye are then visible under blue light.
- Additional tests may be requested to confirm the diagnosis if the doctor thinks the pink eye is brought on by an underlying medical condition, such as an autoimmune disorder or a sexually transmitted infection.
- The patient’s symptoms and the outcomes of a physical examination are usually combined to form the basis of the diagnosis.
How is conjunctivitis treated?
- Antihistamines, eye drops, and cold compresses are commonly used to treat symptoms. Antibiotics are rarely recommended because they are ineffective against viral infections.
- Most of the time, it will go away on its own in a week or two, though in some instances, the symptoms may last for several weeks.
- Eye drops or ointments are used as treatment. Symptoms typically improve a few days after beginning treatment, and the medication is generally prescribed for 5-7 days.
- Warm compresses can also ease discomfort and aid with symptom relief.
An allergic conjunctivitis
- Using oral medications, prescribed antihistamine eye drops, or over-the-counter drugs like Benadryl.
- A doctor may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops in severe instances to reduce inflammation. These medications are typically only used for brief periods because prolonged use has side effects.
Home remedies for conjunctivitis
Several natural remedies could aid in reducing the symptoms. It is crucial to remember that these are not a replacement for medical care and that you should not use them instead of taking any prescribed medicine.
- Warm compresses can soothe inflammation and lessen redness in the afflicted eye.
- Warm water should be used to soak and rinse out a clean washcloth. Place the poultice over the closed eye several times a day for 5 to 10 minutes.
- This might reduce puffiness and itching. Position the affected eye over a few ice cubes wrapped in a fresh towel for a few minutes.
- Saline solution eye rinses can help to clear out secretion and lessen swelling.
- Combine one teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water to create a saline solution. Apply a few droplets to the afflicted eye using an eyedropper.
- Applying raw honey may help combat infection and reduce inflammation.
- Honey can irritate the skin, so it should be used with care. Before using, dilute the honey with an equal quantity of water.
- Aloe Vera lotion application could relieve discomfort. Apply the gel to the troublesome region with a fresh cotton swab.
How do I prevent myself from getting a pink eye?
Here are some basic recommendations to stop the pink eye from spreading:
Maintain proper sanitation.
- Use soap and water to frequently wash your hands, particularly after touching your face or eyes.
Avoid touching your eyes.
- Doing so can transfer bacteria and viruses to your eyes, refrain from rubbing your eyes, applying eye make-up or touching your face.
Use separate towels
- Towels should be kept separate for each member of the family.
Do not exchange personal items.
- Never give others access to intimate items like eye drops, contacts, or eye makeup.
Keep everything tidy
- To stop the spread, frequently clean areas like doorknobs and countertops. Wash your hands before applying eye drops.
Wear safety glasses.
- When swimming, gardening, or engaging in other activities that could subject your eyes to irritants or infection, don safety goggles.
Treat underlying conditions
- Medical problems like allergies or autoimmune diseases should be treated to avoid recurrent pink eye.
Avoid public places
- If you are diagnosed with pink eye, try avoiding public places like school, markets, office and crowded areas to limit the spread.
What are the Complications ?
- In severe instances, corneal ulcers can develop due to an infection that spreads to the cornea, the eye’s transparent outer layer. If left untreated, it can result in discomfort, redness, light sensitivity, and vision loss.
Lack of vision
- Pink eye can cause vision loss if it is not addressed right away. This is particularly valid when the watch is infected.
- This corneal inflammation may result in discomfort, redness, and vision issues.
- It affects the eyelid and surrounding region and is caused by bacteria. If the infection spreads, it might happen.
- A severe disease called conjunctivitis results when the infection spreads to the tissue surrounding the eye. If not handled immediately, it can be fatal and cause fever, excruciating pain, and vision loss.
- Recurring episodes can be a symptom of an underlying illness or a weakened immune system in some individuals.
When should I dial the doctor’s number?
Immediately call the healthcare professional if one’s having any of the following symptoms :
- Severe ocular discomfort or light sensitivity
- Eyesight alterations or blurry vision, ocular redness
- Extremely severe swelling.
- A compromised immune system is brought on by conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer therapy, or other illnesses.
- Injury to the eyes or recent eye surgery
- Symptoms that are persistent or do not improve after treatment.
- Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, not a severe condition, and the complications can be very well prevented with early diagnosis and care.
- Good hygiene is a crucial factor in the treatment.
- Preventing the spread of disease is highly important for the benefit of family, friends and society.