January 25, 2017

Pretty in pink? Not so much.

Pretty in pink? Not so much.

Have you ever woken up in the morning with one of your eyes shut? It is very itchy and you wonder what is going on? You walk to the mirror and observe that you eye is weeping a strange discharge? If yes, then there is a good chance that you may have “Pink eyes”.

Many of us probably would have had encounters with the dreaded pink eyes. The watery, itchy and burning sensation that comes along with this condition can be quite miserable. We find itvery difficult to keep ourselves from rubbing your eyes.

If you haven’t yet experienced it, pink eye is when your eye becomes pinkish or reddish because of irritation or inflammation.Simply defined as Conjunctivitis, Pinkeye, also known as Madras eye, is a common ocular infection seen in ophthalmic practice.

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitisrefers to a type of infection that affects the eyes, resulting in redness or pinkness in the whites of the eye. We all have a thin membrane that covers the inner surface of our eyelids and the outer layer (white part) of our eye known as conjunctiva. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, we have a case of conjunctivitis. Itstarts initially in one eye and can spread to the other eye as well.

Is it contagious?

Conjunctivitis not only affects children, but adults can get it as well. In adults, most common cause of conjunctivitis is adenovirus where as it is bacterial in children. The pink eye we get in summer is infectious conjunctivitis while the one we get in spring and summer is allergic conjunctivitis.

In addition to being caused by bacteria or viruses, conjunctivitiscan be caused by everyday encounters with:

  • Infections caused by viruses or bacteria
  • Dry eyes from lack of tears or exposure to wind and sun
  • Chemicals, fumes, or smoke (chemical conjunctivitis)
  • Allergies
Can conjunctivitis be prevented?

We all know that prevention is always better than cure. To avoid getting affected with conjunctivitis, it is extremely important that we stay hygienic.

  • We must wash our hands often, especially if we are surrounded with those having conjunctivitis
  • We must avoid touching our eyes, especially if we are going to make contact with someone who recently had or has conjunctivitis
How can conjunctivitis be cured?

Infectious conjunctivitis either bacterial or viral is usually self-limiting in 60% of the cases. If we are diagnosed with infectious conjunctivitis, we will receive a treatment usually aimed to reduce the severity of the symptoms, prevent complications and for quicker recovery. This includes artificial tears and milk oral sedatives.

If diagnosed with severe allergic conjunctivitis, we will be given topical steroids which should be carefully tapered over few weeks.

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