What is conjunctivitis?

conjunctivitis is more commonly known as pinkeye . In this condition, the material that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner parts of the eyelid, called conjunctiva , it boilts. This inflammation causes excessive tearing, pain, and itching.

The condition is most commonly caused by a viral infection. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection or allergies. There are rare causative factors in newborns and infants of three to four weeks.

In addition to tearing, people with conjunctivitis may find that their eyes excrete white or yellowish fluid. The person may discover that, upon waking up in the morning, their eyelashes have stuck together due to this liquid. The white part of the eye will appear red or pink, hence the term pin-eye.

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious, and since it most often occurs in children, it is difficult to prevent children from infecting both eyes. The infection usually starts in one eye, but because it can be painful and itchy, children often scratch the infected eye and then touch the unaffected eye. The condition tends to jump from child to child in school settings and in families with more than one child.

Children with viral or bacterial conjunctivitis should not attend school until they have been treated and are no longer considered contagious. Although frequent handwashing can help prevent its spread, it is not always feasible in a school setting. Viruses and bacteria can be spread when a child touches another child's hand after touching their affected eye, or when an uninfected child comes in contact with surfaces, paper, or fabric that an infected child has touched.

At home, a child with this condition should be watched more carefully to prevent the spread of infection. It's a good idea to cover any soft surfaces your child will come across and put the stuffed animals away for a few days. Supporting handwashing and watching the child closely to see if she is touching the affected eye can reduce spread to other family members.

Common viruses like the annual flu or simple colds can cause viral conjunctivitis. The presence of inflammation should be a signal to alert the doctor, since in children, pinhole can often mean an infection in the ears or sinuses. Treatment for bacterial and viral forms are eye drops used two to three times a day. The bacterial type usually goes away a few days after treatment, but a viral illness can last up to two weeks.

Bacterial conjunctivitis can be the result of a preliminary viral conjunctivitis or it can occur on its own. Common bacteria associated with pinkeye are streptococci and staphylococci. In rare cases, babies passing through the birth canal can contract gonorrhea or chlamydia from an undiagnosed mother. This type is much more serious, as it can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Conjunctivitis in a newborn should always be reported to a doctor.

Babies three to four weeks old can also have pinkeye when their tear ducts are blocked. If the condition persists, brief surgery can open the tear ducts to give the eyes the ability to drain fluid. In most cases, blocked tear ducts do not require surgery, and tear duct massage is used daily to help decrease the blockage.

Fortunately, conjunctivitis caused by allergies is not contagious, but you should still see a doctor to determine that it is not infectious. In most cases, treatment of the underlying symptoms and reduction of exposure to known allergens treat this form of goose eye. Doctors will likely prescribe antihistamines to reduce inflammation.

Recovery times for allergic conjunctivitis depend on the effectiveness of antihistamines and their ability to rid sufferers of histamine-provoking situations. Some people with seasonal allergies experience a little swelling each year, which subsides as airborne allergens become less common.

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