Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions people suffer from. About three million cases are diagnosed in a year in the United State. It occurs when the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid, becomes infected.
Pink eye is caused by either a viral or bacterial infection or an allergic reaction. Dry eyes from lack of moisture or exposure to extreme sun and wind can trigger conjunctivitis. Poor hand-washing and using dirty towels or washcloths with bacteria on them can spread the bacteria to the eye. Other ways the infection can spread is by sharing eye cosmetics and make-up, not washing your pillowcases often enough, and rubbing your eyes frequently. The eye can get inflamed and appear red and swollen.
The infected eye can be itchy and painful. Other signs of pink eye include:
- sensitivity to light
- the skin around the eye and eyeball is red
- the feeling of having something in your eye
- swollen lymph nodes behind the ears
- irritation and itchiness
Symptoms that are not as serious can be treated at home. Applying a warm or cold compress, according to preferred feeling, to the infected eye can help reduce swelling and throbbing. Be sure to use a different washcloth if you switch eyes, as you don’t want to spread the bacteria to other areas.
If these symptoms last more than seven days, then you will need to see a doctor. Pink eye is very contagious but is easily treated with antibiotics or eye drops. Call one of the doctors at Shea Clinic today to schedule an appointment at 800-477-SHEA or locally at 90-762-9720.