The conjunctiva refers to the clear membrane lining the inner part of your eyelids. When it gets irritated or infected, you may have conjunctivitis. While it’s a common eye problem, many still lack a basic understanding of how it happens and how it’s managed.
Eyes On Norbeck, your leading provider of quality eyeglasses and other eye care services, answers some frequently asked questions about conjunctivitis.
Q: How Does It Happen?
Conjunctivitis has three major types depending on the underlying cause. For one, bacterial conjunctivitis happens when certain microorganisms enter your eyes and infect your conjunctiva. The allergic type, on the other hand, occurs when irritants like dust, pollen and other foreign matter get into your eyes. Lastly, the viral form, which is the most prevalent kind, develops when the same virus that causes common colds comes in contact with your eyes.
Q: How Do I Know If I Have Pink Eye?
Conjunctivitis’ hallmark symptom is your eyes turning into a reddish hue, which is why this condition is popularly referred to as “pink eye.” This may be accompanied by a burning sensation or a feeling that something’s stuck in your eyes. Bacterial conjunctivitis may also produce a yellowish or greenish discharge. Having any of these is a sign for you to visit your optometrist and have a complete eye exam.
Q: Is It Contagious?
Allergic pink eye is not transmissible from one person to another. That said, the viral and bacterial forms are highly communicable. This is why immediate management is essential. It’s also important that you observe proper hygiene. Wash your hands as often as you can to prevent hand-eye transfer of conjunctivitis-carrying microorganisms.
Q: What Are the Available Treatment Options?
Your optometrist will create a treatment plan based on the cause of your conjunctivitis. We may prescribe antibiotics if you have bacterial pink eye. Follow our instructions on when and how often you should take the medications. See to it that you complete the whole course to prevent antibiotic resistance and maintain the medication’s effectiveness.
As the viral type is self-limiting, this should go away on its own after a few days. That said, we may provide symptomatic treatment, such as applying a cool compress or eye drops to your eyes, to maintain your visual comfort. When treating allergic pink eye, avoiding the trigger allergen is a priority. We may also prescribe antihistamines to relieve your discomfort.
To learn more about conjunctivitis, call us at (301) 241-0553 or complete our form. We serve Potomac and nearby MD areas.