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EYE HEALTH 101: Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis)

 

Close Up of two irritated red blood eyes.

Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, manifests as an irritation and swelling of the membrane layer of your eye and eyelid– this causes redness and discharge of varying severity. Pinkeye has many causes including viral, bacterial and environmental with the infection often moving on from one eye to the next. Read below for the Vision Gallery’s brief summary of pinkeye’s causes, and then challenge yourself by learning the difference between pinkeye fact and fiction.

CAUSES

Viral– No single virus is responsible for pinkeye; in fact, any one of several varieties and mutations of viruses can cause the infection. Viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, although the symptoms are generally mild. Often associated with colds, sore throats and respiratory infections. Recovery can take from a few days up to three weeks, depending on treatment.

Bacterial– Like viral pinkeye, the infection is rarely serious with similar recovery timelines. As most parents know, children’s adventurous lifestyle make them magnets for bacteria– in fact, bacterial conjunctivitis is the leading cause of absence in school-age children.

Environmental– Also referred to as allergic pinkeye, this is caused when the eye’s membrane and lid are inflamed as a reaction to a certain substance. Environmental or allergic conjunctivitis are most common in people with other allergic sensitivities such as hay fever or eczema. Typical reagents are pollen, dander, dust mites, cosmetics, medications and even a dirty contact lens.

FACT VS FICTION

Pinkeye is always contagious. FICTION– Only viral conjunctivitis is contagious. Though if your health professional does confirm a viral infection, it should be treated very carefully to avoid spreading.

Touching your infected eye will make it worse. FACT– Even a recently washed hand can carry harmful dirt or bacteria. When your eye is infected with conjunctivitis, its ability to fight off further infection is seriously limited. Refrain from touching your eye at all when struggling with an infection.

Pinkeye turns your eyes pink. FICTION– The irritation caused by conjunctivitis is mostly redness around the eyes with some swelling. Inflamed veins can cause a pink appearance in the white of your eye.

Most pinkeye can heal without treatment. FACT– While annoying, a common case of conjunctivitis can improve on its own. Still, healthcare providers should be consulted if pinkeye is accompanied with any moderate to sever pain, sensitive or blurred vision, excessive redness or swelling and if you have any pre-existing conditions that could cause complications.

Are you still curious about pinkeye/conjunctivitis and its complications? Visit or contact the Vision Gallery and our health professionals can answer any questions you might have. Our clients’ health is our top commitment!

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