Pink Eye (Viral Conjunctivitis)
Pink eye is an inflammation of the clear layer (conjunctiva) that sits over the white part of your eye and the inner surface of your eyelids. Pink eye is fairly common and does not usually result in any long-term damage to the eye or vision. Sometimes pink eye will resolve on its own, but most types need some kind of treatment.
Pink eye can be caused by allergies in some cases. In these cases, children usually have hay fever or other allergic conditions.
Pink eye can be caused by the same bacteria that causes colds, ear infections, sinus infections or sore throats. It can also be caused by the same bacteria that causes Chlamydia and gonorrhea (sexually transmitted diseases).
Pink Eye Symptoms
- Redness, irritation, and watery eyes are the most common symptoms of pink eye.
- Other forms of conjunctivitis:
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Chronic allergies are usually the cause of allergic conjunctivitis.
- Pale, watery swelling of the conjunctiva, with a mucous discharge.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis
- The bacterial infection that causes bacterial conjunctivitis is considered pus-producing and can affect one or both eyes.
- Discharge, crusting in the infected eye, matted eyelids.
- Neonatal conjunctivitis
- If left untreated in newborns, this can cause blindness. It is estimated that about 10% of all pregnant women have a Chlamydial infection; this increases the chances of a newborn developing conjunctivitis to 10-20%.
- Neonatal conjunctivitis can also be caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 found in the genital area of the mother that infects the eyes of infants during childbirth.
TreatmentConjunctivitis resolves within a week in the majority of people.In most cases, antibiotic eye drops or ointments are the most commonly prescribed treatments. Artificial tears may also help relieve the symptoms. Persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid drops.
Eye allergies can be the result of an overreaction by the body’s immune system to foreign substances (allergens). Symptoms can be seasonal, occurring most often in the late spring or fall when pollen is the highest. People who have other allergies often have ocular allergies as well. Almost 80% of people with hay fever allergies have ocular allergies.
Like other allergies a person may have, ocular allergies vary in severity from itchy and watery eyes to extensive inflammation.Common symptoms include itching, burning sensations, sensitivity to light, a feeling of having your eyelids “glued shut” in the morning, and tearing.
There are various causes of ocular allergies, but the treatment goals are identical: prevention and limiting or reducing the symptoms. Where possible, the goal is to remove the offending allergen.
Cold compresses, artificial tears, and topical decongestants and topical antihistamines are typical treatment strategies. Some of these preparations are available without a prescription and may be completely adequate for people who have mild cases or intermittent cases of ocular allergies, but if symptoms are more severe, the over-the-counter remedies are usually inadequate simply because they are not nearly as potent as those require a prescription.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a topical steroid.
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