What is Conjunctivitis and is it Dangerous?
Interesting Eye Articles, What is Conjunctivitis
24 December 2022
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is what happens when your conjunctiva is infected. It is a thin transparent surface that provides lubrication to your eye by producing mucus and tears. Adding on, it also serves as a layer of protection to prevent bacteria and microbes from entering your eye.
What are the different types of conjunctivitis?
There are three types of conjunctivitis, which are, viral, bacterial, and allergic. They each have a variety of different causes
Mostly caused by viruses that are related to the common cold, it can be spread through coughing and sneezing. However, you can also get this condition from your body’s own mucous membranes, especially if you forcefully blow your nose. This may cause the virus to move from your respiratory system to your eyes.
This condition is caused by various types of bacteria and spreads through touch. For example, if you’ve had physical contact with someone who has bacterial conjunctivitis, or shared items between them, then there’s a high chance for you to develop it too. Furthermore, poor hygiene can also be a cause of this.
This is common amongst those who have seasonal allergies such as to grass and weed pollen. However, other allergies such as animal dander, dust mites, and mold can also trigger this condition.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
Also known as contact lens-induced papillary conjunctivitis because wearing contact lenses can multiply your chances of getting this condition. This is especially if you’re a frequent wearer of hard contact lenses or do not change your soft lens often.
Some parents may limit their child’s use of smart devices and offer the suggestion of reading a book or drawing on a piece of paper. But do you know? Reading, drawing, and using a smart device are all considered near-vision tasks. The child would have to hold the book or paper close to their face, and it will also lead to a progression of myopia.
What are the signs and symptoms?
You may experience a burning sensation, along with pain and redness in the affected eye. There may also be the possibility of watery discharge, along with itching and swelling. If not careful, it can spread to the unaffected eye.
A thick yellow discharge will be emitted, along with a minimal amount of pain and soreness. You may also experience moderately red eyes and swelling eyelids. The discharge can also stick to your eyelashes, making them crusty as well as causing discomfort.
Watery eyes and the discharge of mucous are common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. You may find it to only happen during certain seasons or in specific environments. For example, if you’re allergic to dust mites, then allergic conjunctivitis will only happen in a dusty area, or those who are affected by pollen may have a higher risk of developing this condition during spring and summer.
Their signs and symptoms can often overlap, making it difficult to identify the cause of your condition. If you suspect that you or a loved one have conjunctivitis, do not hesitate to contact your optometrist or a medical professional.
How can you prevent or minimize the risk of it?
Seeing you or your child with red eyes is surely a scary sight, but there are ways to lower the risk of getting conjunctivitis.
Have good hygiene practices
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, and store your contact lenses as instructed by your eye doctor. Always ensure that they are clean before you wear them. This is to reduce the possibility of contracting bacterial conjunctivitis.
Don’t share personal items
Sharing towels, eyedrops, contact lenses, eyeglasses, pillows, and other personal items can lead to a high chance of developing conjunctivitis if the person you’re sharing with has it.
Avoid touching your eyes with your hands
This is the easiest way to get conjunctivitis, as your hands may carry a wide host of bacteria that can lead to this condition.
How can it be treated?
There are various treatments that are available depending on the type of conjunctivitis that you have. This is why it is important to seek medical care instead of trying to self-diagnose.
If your symptoms include dryness, this will be prescribed to alleviate it and cause the condition to be more bearable.
Antibiotic eye drops
This is rarely prescribed because conjunctivitis is usually caused by a virus. However, in the event that your condition is caused by bacterial infections, this will be given to you.
Change in lifestyle
You may be instructed to stop wearing contact lenses until your condition subsides, and to wash your hands on a regular basis.
Is it a dangerous condition?
This condition may look scary, but it is usually harmless when the right treatment is administered. However, if ignored, it can worsen and affect your quality of life, such as constant discharge can obscure your vision when driving. You can also spread this to others in your home or office if it happens to be infectious.
While some may say that conjunctivitis can clear up on its own after a few days, we still recommend that you visit a medical professional to get the condition looked at.