Pink Eye Symptoms
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is is the clear tissue that rests over the white part of the eye. It also lines the inside of the eyelid. Pinkeye is typically characterized by a reddening of the conjunctiva tissue of the eye, discharge from the eyes, and common signs of infection such as a runny nose or congestion.
Other common pink eye symptoms include:
- Eye discharge
- Eye redness
- Eye pain
- Itching eyes
- Pus or drainage from the eye area
- A runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Swollen eyelids
- Swollen lymph nodes
If you are experiencing any pink eye symptoms it is very important to call a doctor immediately. Though it’s rarely serious, pink eye can be highly contagious, especially amongst children. It will not likely damage your vision in the long term, though early treatment is key to ensuring that you don’t suffer from future eye issues. When you take care to prevent the spread of pink eye and follow your doctor’s orders, pink eye symptoms will typically clear up quickly with no long-term issues.
What is Pink Eye?
Pink eye is a fairly common condition, especially amongst young children and the adults who care for them. While often talked about, many people aren’t aware of what pink eye is or what causes pink eye symptoms.
Pink eye is a serious inflammation or infection of the clear and protective membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. When the small blood vessels in the membrane become very inflamed due to outside irritants, they become more visible. This is what can cause the whites of your eyes to appear pink or bright red when you are experiencing pink eye symptoms. Typically, this reddening of the eye will be the first pink eye symptom that you obviously notice.
Pink eye commonly stems from a bacterial or viral infection, though it can also be the result of an allergic reaction. In babies, pink eye can occur due to an incompletely opened tear duct. Though pink eye is quite irritating and painful, it does not typically affect your vision or ability to see clearly. Typically those with pink eye cite that the itchiness, redness, and drainage is the worst part of the condition.
Pink eye is a highly contagious condition that can easily be spread from person to person. The only way to stop the spread of pink eye is to practice proper hand washing methods and to treat yourself or those with pink eye early on. Getting on a treatment plan is the best way to stop the spread of pink eye and limit pink eye symptoms.
Keep in mind that if you’re someone who wears contact lenses you will need to stop wearing the contacts as soon as you begin to experience pink eye symptoms. Contacts can further irritate the eye and may cause further issues. If your pink eye symptoms do not start to get better within a range of 12 to 24 hours, it is imperative to to make sure that you contact your eye doctor to rule out a more serious infection. Treatment is key in dealing with pink eye and a doctor is the only one who can truly diagnose the condition and put you on the path to wellness.
What causes Pink Eye?
Pink eye can occur due to a variety of causes, but the most common causes of pink eye include :
- A chemical splash in the eye
- Foreign objects in the eye
- A blocked tear duct (only common in newborns)
Viral and Bacterial Conjunctivitis
Typically most pink eye cases are caused by viral and bacterial infections. Both viral and bacterial pink eye can occur alongside symptoms that are common of a cold or respiratory infection. It is not uncommon for someone with viral pink eye to also suffer from a sore throat or nasal congestion. Wearing contact lenses that have not been properly cleaned or borrowing lenses from a friend or loved one be one root cause of bacterial conjunctivitis, leading to pink eye symptoms.
Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious and should be contained as soon as possible. They have a tendency to spread rapidly through either direct or indirect contact with the pus or liquid that drains from the eye of a person who is infected with the condition. Though pink eye typically only affects one eye, it is possible for both eyes to be affected at once.
Another common cause of pink eye symptoms is allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis will typically affect both eyes at once and is the result of an allergy causing agent such as pollen or other irritants. When your body comes in contact with allergens, it will automatically produce an antibody known as immunoglobulin E. This particular antibody will trigger special cells in the body known as mast cells in the mucus that lines your eyes and airways to release histamine that can combat inflammation.When your body releases histamine it can produce pink eye symptoms as well as symptoms common to allergy sufferers.
Individuals who are diagnosed with allergic conjunctivitis will typically experience eye inflammation, tearing or watering of the eye, and intense itching. Additionally, one may experience sneezing, coughing, or a nasal discharge. Unlike viral or bacterial conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis can typically be controlled with eye drops.
Irritation Based Conjunctivitis
Sometimes pink eye symptoms are not caused by a bacterial infection, viral infection, or an allergic reaction, instead some forms of pink eye stem from irritation. Irritation can occur due to a foreign object in the eye or even a chemical splash. Often times the flushing and cleaning that most occur after an irritant gets into the eye may cause or exacerbate redness and irritation in the eye. This form of conjunctivitis is typically signaled by a mucous discharge and water eyes. Though quite painful, irritation based pink eye symptoms will typically clear up on their own in about a day.
If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of pink eye it is absolutely vital that you contact your doctor right away. Early intervention is key in stopping the spread of pink eye and restoring your full health.