Conjunctivitis, commonly called "pink eye," occurs due to swelling or inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a transparent membrane that outlines the eyelids and the eyeball.
When blood vessels in the conjunctiva get swollen due to infection, they become more evident, which makes the white part of the eye look pinkish or red.
Presently, there are three known types of conjunctivitis: chemical, allergic, and infectious.
How to know if you have conjunctivitis/pink eye?
The monsoon is the peak season for getting pink eye, owing to which it is advised that you stay extra cautious during this time. However, it is not always possible to take precautions against diseases as infectious and communicable as these.
Thus, pink eye may not be preventable, but once you get it, you must know what its symptoms are so that you can get it treated at the earliest possible time.
The eye is susceptible to all kinds of infections, but how do you know if you have pink eye? You have pink eye if:
- one or both of your eyes become pink or red.
- one or both of your eyes are constantly itching.
- one or both of your eyes become sensitive to light.
- tears roll down from one or both of your eyes.
- there is liquid discharge in one or both of your eyes which forms a white or yellowish crust around your eyelids and eyelashes prohibiting you from being able to open your eyes after waking up in the morning.
- you have a scraggy feeling in one or both of your eyes.
- you have blurred vision in one or both of your eyes (rare).
How contagious is pink eye?
Pink eye, caused by a viral or bacterial infection, can be highly contagious. If you know someone who has already caught the infection, it is advisable that you stay extra cautious around them.
Avoid being in close contact with people who have conjunctivitis, as it is a communicable disease and can spread through touch.
Remember to not share any items with them if you know that they have been infected. In case you end up doing it by mistake, remember to wash your hands with warm water and soap before you touch your face or your eyes.
It's also advisable not to have eye contact with people who have pink eye unless they are wearing some protective gear, like sunglasses.
The symptoms of pink eye are easily detectable. Before you can speak to an expert, one of the first things you can do is isolate yourself and avoid touching your face and eyes.
Once you speak to the doctor, you will find that the treatment plan is focused on reducing the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Therefore, based on the level of infection, the doctor might suggest some eye drops and pills to ease the discomfort. He may also suggest putting a warm or cold compress over your eyes.
Unless suggested otherwise, along with the medicines, eye drops, and cold compress, you can also follow another routine that has been proven to be extremely beneficial in this case. For this, take some warm water and put some salt in it. Then, with the help of cotton, clean your eyes with this water. Repeat this four to five times throughout the day.
Conjunctivitis is not something that should be taken lightly. It is highly communicable and hence, necessary precautions must be taken to stop it from spreading further.