Conjunctivitis is a swelling and irritation of the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and eyelid lining. It is often referred to as “pink eye” due to the pink color of inflamed blood vessels.
Many irritants can cause temporary conjunctivitis. Seasonal or indoor allergens, pollutants in the air, eye makeup, contact lenses, or other kinds of debris may cause irritation and inflammation. It is usually alleviated when debris or allergens are no longer present. Washing the affected eye and keeping it clean often allows enough time to heal, and symptoms should subside.
Infection conjunctivitis may be viral or bacterial. The viral type may accompany a cold, fever, sore throat, or flu. Eye redness and watery discharge are common symptoms. Staph or strep bacteria may cause bacterial conjunctivitis. It can include eye redness and discharging mucus.
Bacterial and viral pinkeye can be highly contagious and can easily be passed between people. This is often seen in children as they can contract it during play in schools or daycares. The symptoms are generally mild and do not pose a serious threat to eye health. However, it should be treated by an eye doctor. A doctor should also see newborns with symptoms as it’s important to diagnose and treat symptoms in young babies to ensure no vision loss occurs.
Conjunctivitis is a common condition we see often at Eye Institute of Marin. Some eye diseases are similar, so it’s important for patients to have a professional evaluation by an eye doctor to determine their specific needs and proper treatment. Treatment is different depending on the cause, but all forms of conjunctivitis need professional evaluation to ensure good eye health. In most cases, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics, eye drops, or ointments.
If you are experiencing symptoms, call us to schedule an appointment right away!