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Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is also known as pinkeye which is an inflammatory condition that affects the eyes especially the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a membrane that functions in covering the white portion of the eye and inner surface of the eyelids. This membrane has small blood vessels that become visible when there is inflammation in the area. This is the reason why the whites of the eye become red when infected with conjunctivitis.

Symptoms

  • There is tearing or drainage of yellow or green discharge
  • Inflammation, swelling and reddening of the whites of the eyes
  • Itchiness of the affected area
  • Burning sensations
  • Blurriness
    Conjunctivitis

    There is tearing or drainage of yellow or green discharge

  • Crusting on the eyelids and eyelashes
  • Increased photosensitivity

Causes

  • Infectious conjunctivitis is a condition which affects just one or both of the eyes due to infection either bacterial or viral. Both the eyes are highly contagious and can be spread through close contact or from secretions coming from the eye. Children are more susceptible to bacterial conjunctivitis than in adults.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis which is caused by an allergic reaction due to direct contact with an allergen or irritants such as pollen, smoke and other substances.
  • Non-infectious conjunctivitis caused by irritation and inflammation that is due to chemical splash or some foreign object inside the eye.
  • Neonatal conjunctivitis is usually common in mothers suffering from STDs such as chlamydia and if not properly treated can cause blindness.
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis usually affects contact lens users and affects both eyes. This is quite common among people using soft contact lens.

Treatment

  • Apply warm compress on the affected eye. Simply soak a clean washcloth in warm or hot water and wring out excess water before applying over the eyes. Make sure the cloth is free from lint and avoid using the same cloth on both eyes in order to prevent the risk of spreading the infection to the other eye.
  • Apply a thin layer of potato peels on the eyelids since it helps in minimizing the inflammation and swelling.
  • Use the prescribed over-the-counter eye drops called artificial tears to lessen the symptoms. Some eye drops contain antihistamines that provide relief to people suffering from allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Stop wearing contact lenses until the eyes are totally healed.
  • Wash the clothes frequently and take a bath or shower before going to bed if suffering from allergic conjunctivitis.

Tips

  • Avoid touching the eyes using the hands
  • Use clean towels and washcloth and avoid sharing these things with other people.
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Throw away eye cosmetics such as mascara after use and avoid sharing eye cosmetics and other eye care items with other people.
  • Change pillowcases often
  • Avoid swimming in a swimming pool.
  • Eat a well balanced diet especially foods that are rich in Vitamin A which is important for the overall health of the eyes.

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