Pink Eye is a very common eye condition in which the normally clear mucus membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface, known as the conjunctiva, becomes swollen and red or pinkish in color.
Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye can result from a number of different causes. Although most cases of pink eye are caused by infections from a virus or bacteria, it can also come from dry eye syndrome, which produces a lack of tears, from exposure to the elements, or from allergies.
Pink eye that results from a virus or bacteria is highly contagious. Keeping it from spreading is, therefore, extremely important, especially since there is usually no medical treatment, and waiting it out is the only way to be rid of it. This type of pink eye is most often spread through poor hand washing, but may also come from sharing objects like washcloths or towels with a person with pink eye.
Viral and bacterial pink eye are usually accompanied by swelling and itching of the eyelids, watery eyes and clear or slightly thick drainage. Many times the accompanying drainage can cause the eyelids to stick together when a person first wakes up in the morning or after a nap.
This type of pink eye usually runs its course over 5 to 7 days, but can, in rare cases, last as long as 3 weeks and become ongoing or chronic. As symptoms begin to wear off, a person is usually able to return to work or school.
Other types of pink eye, caused by non-bacterial and non-viral irritants usually don't last as long and fade more quickly, with fewer symptoms.
If you have pink eye, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent spreading it:
•Do not share eye makeup
•Wash your hands before or after touching the eyes or face.
•Do not wear contact lenses while still infected, since you may make the infection worse or re-infect yourself.
•Do no wear eye makeup while still suffering from pink eye, since you run the risk of re-infecting yourself.
•When cleaning drainage out from your eye, always clean from inside, toward your nose, to the outside, toward your cheek.
•Do not share towels, linens, pillows, or handkerchiefs. Use clean linens, towels, and washcloths daily.
Fortunately, pink eye is not a serious illness, and patience and a bit of caution is all you require, in most cases, to get through it. For more information, contact Dr. Kerry Pearson today.