Conjunctivitis, is an infection, or an inflammation of the thin and transparent layer that covers the surface of your inner eyelid and the front of your eye, known as the conjunctiva.
This is an eye disease that can affect anyone, regardless of the age. It’s most notable symptoms include a blurred vision, red, and watery eyes, inflamed eyelids, and an itchy feeling in your eyes.
If you experience watery or pus-like discharge around your eyelids, you may be undergoing a rather contagious form of conjunctivitis known as a ‘pink eye’
Did you know that there are some sexually transmitted diseases that are known to cause conjunctivitis? This usually takes longer to clear up, as compared to other forms of conjunctivitis.
What Causes Conjunctivitis?
There are three main forms of conjunctivitis; allergic, infectious and chemical. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually as a result of your body’s reaction when in contact with pollen, animals, cosmetics or fabrics. The ‘pink eye’, is caused either by a contagious bacteria or virus.
Chemical conjunctivitis on the other hand, is caused by environmental irritants such as noxious fumes, air pollution or chlorine in swimming pools.
It’s of utmost importance that you prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. There are a few measures you can take to ensure the infectious form does not spread to other people. They include:
- Washing your hands with soapy water before and after using on eye medications
- Refraining from touching your eyes with your hands
- Avoiding sharing of towels, pillows, cosmetics, eye drops and washcloths
- Washing your face cloths and wash pillows on hot water and a detergent
Despite the fact that there are contagious forms of the disease, you do not need to stay away from school or work, as long as you observe the measures above. Children, however, can stay at home, if you are worried that they may forget some of these precautions, and risk infecting others.
There are certain forms of conjunctivitis that can be so severe and eventually harm your vision if not treated promptly. We recommend seeking treatment as soon as you experience any worrying symptoms.
How Is It Treated?
In most cases, optometrists will prescribe an antibiotic, in form of an ointment or eye drops, if your conjunctivitis is caused by a bacteria. Antibiotics are also prescribed in the prevention of secondary bacterial infections. However, antibiotics cannot treat a viral pink eye. Rather, the virus should be fought off by your body’s immune system.
For the allergic and chemical conjunctivitis, optometrists seek to eliminate the irritant or the cause of the allergy. You will be required to always use swimming goggles to prevent chlorinated water from coming into contact with your eyes. In case of allergic reactions, you will need to avoid any substance that might be causing the reaction.
If the above measures are unsuccessful, your doctor will prescribe eye drops, to help relieve the symptoms. You should also avoid wearing contact lenses until you are fully recovered.
Contact our doctors at Unionville Optometry today, for further inquiries about conjunctivitis or to book an appointment.