Pink eye is an infectious state of eyes, popularly known as conjunctivitis. It is a state where the conjunctiva lines, covering white part of eyes, get infected. As a result, blood vessels of our eyes become prominently visible and our eyes look red or pink in color. Conjunctiva lines or membranes respond to variety of bacteria, irritant, viruses, toxic agents and ongoing body ailments resulting in irritation and soreness of eyes.
Is it contagious?
Pink eye is a contagious disease and patient has to take proper care of his eyes during the course of treatment so as to avoid others from catching it. Though contagious, timely treatment and precautions help patients to get over with this disease easily. Pink eye is not restricted to people of specific age group, however, it has been found that people normally catch pink eye in their childhood. We shall now study various causes and treatment for pink eye along with precautions.
Pink eye or conjunctivitis is an infectious disease caused mainly because of virus, bacteria, allergies and irritant materials. It is a contagious disease when it is caused due to bacteria and virus, and can rapidly spread from one person to another by means of contaminated materials, water and air. Viruses responsible for pink eye are adenoviruses and are treated using medicines made out of acyclovir. Also, bacteria responsible for pink eye are staphylococcus aureus, haemophilus influenza, streptococcus pneumonia, N.meningitidis, neotrombiculaautumnalis and Moraxella lacumata.
Various allergens and irritants responsible are chlorine, smog and dust ticks.
It is very important to identify symptoms of conjunctivitis as it helps in timely treatment. Pink eye caused due to different reasons render different symptoms. Let us go through various symptoms in different scenarios.
Due to viral infection
When pink eye is caused due to viral infection, it is accompanied with common cold and sore throat as infection spreads through upper respiratory tract. Its symptoms are:
- Excessive watering
- Excessive itching
- Usually infection initiates with one eye, spreading across other.
Due to bacterial infection
It is caused due to Pyogenic bacteria and like pink eye, due to viral infections, bacterial infection also begins with one eye and easily spreads through another. Symptoms of conjunctivitis due to bacterial infection are:
- Redness of conjunctiva
- Inflammation of eyelid
- Mucus discharge
Pink eye due to allergens and chemicals
Conjunctivitis caused due to allergens and chemicals is not contagious and, generally, self-healing. Pink eye, due to chemicals is caused due to unwanted splash of alkaline or acidic substances which produce irritation in conjunctiva resulting in pain. Inflammation of conjunctiva also take place along with itching and excessive watering. It starts with inflammation of lower part of conjunctiva and gradually spread through all parts of eye. It can be diagnosed using litmus paper to measure pH level in water coming out from eyes. Anaesthetic eye drops are prescribed to patients to relieve pain.
Diagnosis & Treatment
In all cases of pink eye or conjunctivitis, precaution against dust and dirt particles is most important along with normal medication. Truthfully, no special medication is developed for conjunctivitis apart from precautionary measures as it run through its course and gets cured itself. However, let us understand different methods for different type of conjunctivitis.
- Pink eye due to viral infection: As discussed, viral conjunctivitis will run through its course and heal itself. However, one should rinse his eyes with fresh cold water 8-10 times a day for speedy recovery. One can also sooth his eyes by patting them with soft cotton cloth dipped in cold water. You should wear spectacles while going out as it protects our eyes from dust and dirt, and also prevent it from spreading.
- Pink eye due to bacterial infection: In case of pink eye due to bacterial infection one must visit a doctor. Generally anti-biotic eye drops and ointments are prescribed for bacterial conjunctivitis. Along with anti-biotic you should rinse your eyes 5-6 times a day with cold water or gently pat with soft cotton cloth soaked with cold water.
- Pink eye due to allergens and chemicals: Medication for allergy is prescribed by doctor for conjunctivitis caused due to allergens.
In all the cases of conjunctivitis, irrespective of root cause, one should properly rinse his eyes several times a day to keep them clean. As pink eye caused due to virus and bacteria is contagious you should wear spectacles to prevent it from spreading to others. Pink eye is a disease with no adverse effects and usually gets cured itself if proper precautionary measures are taken.