Pink Eye, Pink Eye!
Pink, itchy eyes? Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is quite common and spreads very easily. Depending on the cause, pink eye sometimes requires medical treatment. My goal here today is to offer information on the symptoms of pink eye, when/if treatment should be sought, and how to prevent it. After all, if you can avoid pink eye in the first place, well, that's obviously the preferred route!
Pink Eye Defined
In a nutshell, pink eye is defined as "an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color." (definition courtesy of CDC.gov). Pink eye, as noted, is very common and spreads quickly and easily. Yet it is one of the most easily treated eye conditions in both children and adults.
Pink Eye Causes
Pink eye can be caused by a variety of different exposures and/or conditions. Listed below are the four primary causes. Viral Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis Caused by Irritants
The Symptoms of Pink Eye
Depending on the type of pink eye occurring in the patient, symptoms can manifest differently.
Below, courtesy of the CDC.gov, are the common symptoms associated with each version of this malady: [su_spacer size="0"] Symptoms of conjunctivitis (pink eye) can include:
Symptoms by Type of Pink Eye: The different types of pink eye and their most common symptoms: [su_spacer size="20"] Viral Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis Caused by Irritants
When to See a Health Care Provider
Aside from the itchy, watery and (sometimes) painful symptoms associated with pink eye, a celebration of sorts can be had over how easy it is to treat. In fact, there even effective home remedies for pink eye, if the individual case is not too advanced. That said, there is a point where one must see a health care provider as, left untreated, pink eye can become quite a serious condition. See a health care provider for pink eye when:
How to Stop Pink Eye from Spreading
Pink eye caused by bacteria or a virus is very contagious and spreads easily and quickly from person-to-person. Pink eye caused by irritants or allergens is not contagious, yet it is possible to develop a secondary infection caused by a virus or bacteria that is contagious (CDC.gov). You can lower the risk of getting or spreading pink eye by following some easy, self-care steps:
[su_spacer size="20"] See conjunctivitis prevention for more information
Pink Eye in Newborns
Newborn babies that develop pink eye should see a healthcare provider in every case. Pink eye in newborns may be resultant of an infection, eye irritant, or a tear duct blockage. Per the CDC: [su_spacer size="20"] [su_quote]Neonatal pink eye caused by sexually transmitted infections, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, can be very serious. If you are pregnant and think you may have a sexually transmitted infection, visit your healthcare provider for testing and treatment. If you don't know whether you have a sexually transmitted infection but have recently given birth and your newborn shows signs of pink eye, visit your child's healthcare provider right away.[/su_quote]
State law requires most hospitals to put ointment or drops into a newborn's eyes to prevent pink eye. For more information on newborn pink eye, see conjunctivitis in newborns.
Pink Eye in Summary
There are many additional resources to look into when dealing with pink eye. Just remember, this condition is both easily spread and easily treated. There are simple, preventative measures to follow too, but they don't always work. Seek medical treatment if in doubt about the severity of your (or a loved one's) pink eye condition. Always seek medical care for pink eye in newborns or very young children.