What is Conjunctivitis and What To Do About It

Conjunctivitis When you hear about a pink eye, what most think of is something scary that can damage the eyesight. Pink eye also referred to as conjunctivitis is a common eye problem that can be easily treated by optometrists.

While anyone can get pink eye, school children, teachers and daycare workers have higher risk of developing the condition. Conjunctivitis is when the thin covering gets inflamed, covering a part of an eye and the eyelids. According to For Eyes Only, the inflammation is what causes bloodshot eyes.

What causes conjunctivitis?

Pink eye is caused by various reasons such as bacteria, allergic and viral conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by animal dander, dust, and pollen. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious but clears up on its own without treatment. On the other hand, bacterial conjunctivitis can be fatal if left untreated.

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

Depending on the conjunctivitis you have, the symptoms may vary. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Itchy, burning, watery eyes-This mostly occurs in people with allergic conjunctivitis. You’ll also experience a runny nose and stuffiness followed by light sensitivity.
  • Yellow, sticky eye discharge- in the corner of an eye is a symptom of bacterial conjunctivitis. When extreme, the discharge may cause the eyelids to be stuck together. This may affect either eye or both.
  • Sensitivity to light and watery eyes-This is as a result of viral conjunctivitis. This type of conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread through sneezing or coughing.
What are the available treatments? 

When you visit your optometrist, he/she will first diagnose the cause of your pink eye. Viral conjunctivitis often goes away after a few days. For bacterial conjunctivitis, your optometrist will prescribe an ointment or antibiotic eye drops.

Many people confuse conjunctivitis with dry eyes or eye infections. This is the reason it is advisable to regularly visit an eye doctor to get the right diagnosis and schedule an eye exam.