Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent tissue over the white area of the eye. It makes the eye pink or reddish and gives the eye sensations of pain, burning, scratching, or itching. The swelling of the white part of the eye may also happen along with increased tear secretion.
How Do You Get Pink Eye?
The primary cause of inflammation of conjunctiva or pink eye is a viral infection. The viruses named as adenoviruses are the most common cause. Other viruses that can cause pinkeye include herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Viral conjunctivitis is normally correlated with an infection of the respiratory tract, a cold or a sore throat.
The infection usually begins with one eye, but it may spread to another easily. Viruses make the eye conjunctiva appear diffused pinkish which is easily mistaken for the ciliary infection of iris known as iritis.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is mainly due to pus-producing bacteria known as pyogenic bacteria. It causes marked grittiness or irritation and an opaque, stringy yellow-grey mucopurulent discharge (containing mucus and pus). This discharge causes the eyelids to stick together after sleep.
How to Tell If You Have Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis symptoms are usually ignored by most people. Your eyes watering is not surprising as people normally experience watery eyes. If their eyes itch, people often mistake pink eye for allergies.
Is Pink Eye Contagious?
Whenever we talk about viral and bacterial infections, the most concerning thing about them is that they are contagious. So yes, conjunctivitis is highly contagious. It may spread from person to person and it can also spread through water and contaminated objects.
Do You Treat Pink Eye?
The best way to get rid of it is to take care of your hygiene. Try not to rub your eyes even if they get itchy or irritable. More than 65 percent of cases resolve without treatment within two to five days. The rest get settled by taking common antibiotics and does not usually last for more than one or two weeks.