Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a condition in which the membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the surface of the eye, called the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. The eyes can become itchy and red, caused by the inflammation of the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva. Pink eye is contagious, but can usually be cured easily. There are at-home treatments that you can do to treat conjunctivitis and to prevent it from reoccurring as well as other treatments such as medications.
In the same way that cold-causing viruses infect the membranes of your nose and ears, viruses can also infect the conjunctiva in your eye. This is the most common cause of conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and symptoms include irritation, watery discharge, and redness. Symptoms tend to disappear after a few days or up to two weeks.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is also common, often characterized by sore, red eyes, with a lot of sticky discharge. This condition is usually mild and can be easily managed, but can lead to vision loss if not treated over time.
This form of conjunctivitis is not contagious and is due to an inflammatory response to certain environmental factors, such as pollen.
This can easily be managed with allergy medications.
Your ophthalmologist will treat your conjunctivitis based on the type you have. If it is caused by a viral infection, your body is expected to fight the virus on its own. If it is caused by a bacterial infection, your ophthalmologist will prescribe antibiotic eye drops, depending on the severity. If it is due to allergies, your ophthalmologists will suggest either an eye drop or ointment to alleviate the symptoms of itchiness and teariness.
Follow these tips to prevent conjunctivitis and to prevent it from spreading:
Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes.
Clean your contacts and replace the solution regularly.
When washing your face, use a clean towel to wipe your face and eyes.
Regularly clean your pillow case.
Be sure to get rid of all makeup residue when washing your face. Replace your makeup if you have an infection and do not share makeup with others.