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Eye infections: How to manage conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a common eye infection that affects millions all over the world. The condition involves inflammation or infection of the film covering the eyeball or interior of the eyelids. This can cause the white part of the eye or sclera to appear red or pinkish.

In most cases, conjunctivitis is usually mild. Some individuals might be given antibiotics for bacterial causes. These antibiotics are often available in eye drop form instead of pills.

What are the usual indications?

  • Pinkish or reddish discoloration of the white part of the eye that can affect one or both eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Drainage and crusting of the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids

Possible causes of conjunctivitis

  • Bacteria
    Pinkish or reddish discoloration of the white part of the eye that can affect one or both eyes
  • Viruses
  • Irritants
  • Allergies

When to consult a doctor

Most cases of conjunctivitis are relatively mild and eventually subside without treatment. There are instances in which it is best to seek medical care. The following aspects can greatly benefit by consulting a doctor:

  • Initial episode of blurry vision (does not clear if discharge is wiped out of the eye)
  • Conjunctivitis in an infant or newborn
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Intense or moderate pain
  • Reddened eyes with pain
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis that could not be remedied with antibiotics
  • Possibility of chickenpox, herpes or shingles
  • There are current eye issues that can increase the risk
  • Presence of a small-sized object in the eye that could not be flushed out
  • Weakened immune system from cancer, chemotherapy, HIV or using immune suppression medications for rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions

A doctor should be consulted regarding any concerns. The doctor can determine the type of conjunctivitis and the suitable treatment if needed.

Preventive measures

Conjunctivitis is often spread of touching. A child with an itchy eye can rub the affected eye and then touch another child.

Even objects can be contaminated and spreads from contact with other bodily fluids such as while coughing, from tears and even diapers. Remember that this eye infection can rapidly spread in school or daycare settings.

  • Always wash hands on a regular basis
  • An adult or child with conjunctivitis should avoid rubbing or touching the eyes
  • Eye make-up should not be shared as well as contact lens containers, contact lenses and even eyeglasses
  • If the eye infection is triggered by irritants or allergens, it will not spread from one person to another.

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