Conjunctivitis or pink eye involves inflammation of the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and underside of the eyelids. There are various causes of the condition that is relatively common but not usually serious.
What are the indications?
- Bloodshot eye
- Irritation or burning pain in the affected eye
- Swollen eyelids
- Gritty sensation in the eye
- Impaired vision and sticky discharge from the eye
- Formation of crust around the eyelashes
The condition typically affects both eyes at the same time but not in all cases and can start in one and spread to the other.
The treatment is usually based on the type of conjunctivitis.
- Bacterial – this type is managed using antibiotic drops. The affected eye must be cleaned regularly using a cotton wool soaked in cooled boiled water to eliminate any discharge.
- Allergic – antihistamine drops are used. The exact cause or allergen must be identified to minimize potential exposure
- Viral – this type of conjunctivitis has no cure. Relief can be provided with the help of eye drops or lubricants. A cold compress can also be used to ease the irritation, itchiness and swelling. Pain medications might be given to alleviate the swelling and discomfort.
- Reactive – the treatment requires identification and avoidance of the trigger. Eye drops and cold compress can be used to relieve the discomfort.
There are simple rules that can help avoid conjunctivitis. The bacterial and viral forms are considered contagious and the individual should be careful not to spread it to others with the following:
- Regularly wash the face and hands
- Avoid sharing of face towels and rubbing the eyes
- Avoid sharing eye make-up or eye drops