Conjunctivitis, known colloquially as pink eye, is a very common but widely misunderstood condition. It is most typical among children and is basically just the inflammation of the inside of the eyelids (conjunctiva) and the film that covers the white of the eye. The conjunctiva is clear, but it has tiny blood vessels that become visible when inflamed. This is what causes the eye to appear pink, giving conjunctivitis its nickname.
Causes of Pink Eye
- Allergies: Allergies can cause the conjunctiva to swell or become inflamed, particularly when the eyes become dry.
- Chemicals: Chemical conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Virus:Some forms of pink eye are caused by a virus.
- Bacteria: Other forms of pink eye are caused by bacteria that are spread from contact with an infected person.
Viral and bacterial pink eye are both extremely contagious, particularly among young children. It can be caught by making contact with an infected person and then touching the eyes.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
- Pain in and around the eyelids
- Itchy eyes
- Burning while blinking
- Dry eyes
- Pink or red hue in the white part of the eye
- White or clear pus coming from the eye
- Excessively tearing up
Pink eye can occur in one or both eyes. Typically, if a person has conjunctivitis in one eye, they will unintentionally spread it to the other eye.
Treatment for Pink Eye
Viral and bacterial pink eye can last from five days to four weeks. Physicians recommend refraining from wearing contact lenses while symptoms persist.
While there are some home remedies, it is recommended for children to visit a pediatric urgent care clinic for a proper diagnosis and treatment method. Comprehensive specialized pediatric care for pink eye often includes the use of eye drops as well as a cold or warm compress to reduce swelling.
Pink eye can be very irritating, but it is also totally treatable. If your child is suffering from pink eye, don?t wait for an appointment with a primary care physician; take him or her to a pediatric urgent care facility today. Most urgent care centers operate seven days a week and are open even after most doctor?s offices close for the evening.