Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is an inflammation of the eyes. It is caused by inflammation in the tissue surrounding the insides of the eyelid. It is one of the most common eye infection in children and adults, and also the most easily treated. A good portion of children or adults will have conjunctivitis at least once in their lifetime, especially since it is contagious. It can be caused from a variety of things ranging from bacteria to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Below you can find out more about this treatable eye condition.

Causes of Conjunctivitis

There is no one cause that leads to conjunctivitis, rather it is from a variety of irritants and bacteria sources. As an infection, the most common cause is a virus of some kind. Others include allergies known as allergic conjunctivitis, bacteria, some diseases, exposure to chemicals, chlamydia, fungi, parasites, or the use of contact lenses such as extended-wear lenses. While many people think conjunctivitis and pink eye are the same thing, pink eye is actually a form of conjunctivitis when it refers to a viral infection. These are very contagious with children though not all forms of conjunctivitis are contagious. Newborns who are exposed to a certain bacteria through the birth canal can also get infected with conjunctivitis which will need to be treated immediately.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

A variety of symptoms can lead doctors to address the possibility of conjunctivitis. These include blurred vision, a gritty feeling in your eyes, pain in the eyes, crust forming on the eyelid overnight, increasing tears, itching and redness in your eyes and sensitivity to light. Pink eye, which is the most known form of conjunctivitis, causes a crust to form overnight making it nearly impossible to open your eyes when you wake up. This is a good indication you have conjunctivitis.

Diagnosing and Treating Conjunctivitis

Diagnosing conjunctivitis is a simple process which only needs a physical examination of your eyes. In some cases, your doctor will get a swab of your conjunctiva for analysis, though they can usually tell by looking at you whether you have this type of infection or not. The type of treatment will depend on the type of conjunctivitis, but mostly what caused it. For example, allergic conjunctivitis is treated by treating your allergies along with cool compresses. Other forms of conjunctivitis may require antibiotics, eye drops, or simply waiting until it goes away. Until the eye infection has been treated, it is important that you remain a good distance away from your family members until you have received antibiotics. If your symptoms don’t go away about 4 days, you should consult your doctor and they might need to take further measures.

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