Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a disease that causes redness of the eyes, irritation, and swelling, and it is communicable, regardless of the cause-which may be an allergy, or a virus, bacterium or foreign body, It is transmitted by contact with infectious discharge from the upper respiratory tract or eye of an infected individual, or by contact with an article that has been contaminated.
Symptoms of the disease include pink or red discoloration in the eye, inflammation of the inner eyelids, a scratchy or sandy sensation in the eye, watery discharge or pus coming from the eye, and blurred vision. If you have even one of these symptoms, contact your doctor for a comprehensive eye examination and take the following precautions:
- Avoid touching your eyes.
- Wash your hands before and after applying any eye drops you use.
- Do not share cosmetics, washcloths, towel,s or eye drops with anyone.
Treating Pink Eye
If the infectious conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, it is treated with antibiotic ointment and/or eye drops. Regarding the chemical and allergic forms of pink eye, the cause of the allergy or irritation should be removed, and if the problem persists, over-the-counter and prescription eye drops can be used to lessen your discomfort.
To alleviate the symptoms, make a compress by soaking a cloth that is clean and lint-free, wringing it out, and gently applying it to the affected area if you have allergic pink eye. (If you have the viral or bacterial form, a warm compress may be preferable.) This should be done carefully to avoid the risk of spreading the disease if the other eye is not contaminated. Artificial tears, which are over-the-counter eye drops, can also be used to relieve your symptoms. Other eye drops are also available containing antihistamines or similar ingredients that will benefit those who have allergic pink eye.
If you wear contact lenses, you may have to set them aside until your conditions improves, and how long this will take will depend on the cause of your conjunctivitis. Ask your eye doctor what procedures you should follow, and if you aren’t using disposable contact lenses, be sure to clean them thoroughly before you begin wearing them again.
“Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye),” Indiana State Department of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010. http://www.in.gov/isdh/23294.htm>
“Conjunctivitis,” The University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010, http://www.kellogg.umich.edu/patientcare/conditions/conjunctivitis.html>
Mayo Clinic staff, “Pink eye (conjunctivitis) – Lifestyle and home remedies,” MayoClinic.co., July 27, 2010. Web. 27 July 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pink-eye/DS00258/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies>