Ojas Eye Hospital in Bandra, Kandivali, Mumbai

Misconceptions About Pink Eye

February 9, 2022

Introduction

Conjunctivitis is defined as the inflammation or infection of the outer transparent membrane of the eyeball and the inner eyelid, which is due to several causes. It is also known as pink eye. It can be bacterial or viral, or allergens such as pollen, smoke and other harmful pollutants. It can be acute, lasting for 1-2 weeks, or chronic, lasting for 3-5 weeks. Untreated conjunctivitis may cause serious complications.

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is defined as an inflammation or infection of the transparentmembrane (conjunctiva). When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva or the eye become inflamed, their diameter increases and so visibility increases. Whites of the eyes appear reddish or pink due to conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis is mainly caused due to viruses such as adenovirus and herpes virus, which are primarily responsible for pink eye. In addition, coronavirus is also a virus that causes pink eye. These can be treated with the help of anti-inflammatory eye drops, antiviral agents, lubricants and applying a cold compress for symptomatic relief.

Many bacteria also cause pink eye, such as staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumonia, and pseudomonas aeruginosa. They can be treated using eye drops and eye ointments containing antibiotics.

Many allergens cause pink eyes, such as moulds, pollen grains, and other substances. These substances cause allergies. Redness of the eye can also be due to irritating substances present in shampoo and cosmetics. These can be managed by using oral anti-histaminic drugs such as cetirizine and levocetirizine and topical antiallergic agents.

Infective conjunctivitis spreads mainly by touching the contaminated surface previously touched by an infected person or by skin-to-skin contact. It can be prevented by using continuous hand wash or using sanitiser frequently. It can also be spread by the sneezing or coughing of an infected person to a healthy person via air droplets.

Apart from medications, self-care is necessary for people with conjunctivitis by reducing contact with allergies and the infected person. Regular cleaning of the eyelashes and eyelids is important to avoid secondary infection.

Conjunctivitis can become more serious when they affect the cornea. They include conjunctivitis caused by gonorrhoea, chlamydia and other potent viral strains.

Symptoms

The most common visible symptoms of a person suffering from the pink eye are:

  • Redness is commonly seen in the inner side of eyelids
  • Excessive watering or tear secretion from the eyes.
  • A thick yellow discharge after sleep is primarily seen in people with conjunctivitis.
  • Grey or white discharge from one or both eyes.
  • Gritty feeling in one orboth of eyes.
  • Itching with redness of eyes which is commonly due to allergens (Allergic Conjunctivitis )
  • Burning sensation
  • Blurry vision
  • People suffering from conjunctivitis are seen to have increased light sensitivity.
  • Swollen eyelids
  • In some people, watery eyes are seen due to the over activation of tear glands.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, fever and headache, are also seen.
  • Symptoms in newborns include red, tender and puffy eyelids.

Misconceptions

The major misconception about conjunctivitis or pink eye is as follows:

  • Conjunctivitis patients do not needto be consulted by a doctor.
  • May self medicate with over the counter medicines from a chemist
  • Pink eye affects only kids.
  • There isno treatment for conjunctivitis.
  • People who once have conjunctivitis means they will develop immunity to conjunctivitis.
  • Conjunctivitis always means pinkish eyes or red eyes.
  • Pink eye is the reason for blindness.
  • Conjunctivitis can only be treated with antibiotics when taken for a long time.
  • Pink eyes can also be caused by rubbing eyes.
  • Pink eye spread by eye contact with an infected person.
  • Staying home can prevent conjunctivitis.
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