The conjunctiva is a clear, thin membrane that covers the surface of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. It contains blood vessels that overlay the sclera or the white of the eye. Irritation of the conjunctiva results in blood vessel dilation and swelling of the eye. This condition is called conjunctivitis or pink eye.
Read on as Downtown Eyes discusses this eye condition in detail.
What Causes Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis may be viral, bacterial, or allergic. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious since it’s caused by the same virus responsible for the common cold, but it typically clears up on its own without medical treatment. Bacterial conjunctivitis develops when microorganisms infect the tissue layer under the eyelids. Lastly, allergic pink eye is caused by pollen, dust or animal dander. These eye irritants may inflame the conjunctiva and cause hypersensitivity reactions from your immune system. The best way to determine what type of conjunctivitis you have is to visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.
What Are the Common Signs and Symptoms?
Conjunctivitis causes the white of the eye to appear pinkish or even reddish; hence the name “pink eye.” Other symptoms and signs depend on the type of conjunctivitis you have. People with viral pink eye may experience watery and itchy eyes and sensitivity to light. Bacterial conjunctivitis, on the other hand, may give you thick, yellow-green secretions. This discharge causes the eyelids to stick together when you wake up.
How Can You Treat Pink Eye?
Pink eye management depends on the type. Viral conjunctivitis does not require medical treatment, but to ease the symptoms, you may apply a cold, wet washcloth. For a bacterial pink eye, your eye doctor or optometrist may suggest antibiotics to treat the inflammation of the conjunctiva. Note that both the viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis are contagious, so it’s best to avoid sharing personal things to prevent the spreading of the disease.
Your eye care specialist may also prescribe antihistamines if you have an allergic pink eye. They may ask you to take these medications before allergy flare-ups begin.
Downtown Eyes provide eye care treatment for different eye conditions, including pink eye. Call us today at (612) 333-EYES (3937) or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment. We serve residents of Minneapolis, MN.