Bacterial conjunctivitis, as the name suggests, is a bacterial infection of the conjunctiva. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on the contributing factors, symptoms, and treatment of this infection.
Conjunctiva refers to the membrane that covers the inner surface of the eyelid and the sclera (white part of the eyeball). The term ‘conjunctivitis’ refers to the inflammation of the conjunctiva. It is characterized by the reddening of the whites of the eyes, which in turn occurs due to inflammation of the tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva. Due to this reason, it is also referred to as pink eye. The causative agents of this eye infection could be bacteria, viruses, chemical agents, allergens, etc. Let’s find out more about the infection wherein the causative agent is a bacterium.
How Does it Spread
It must be noted that conjunctivitis is a contagious infection. The causative agents include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, or Hemophylus influenzae. The use of contaminated eye makeup, or poor hygiene could cause bacterial conjunctivitis. If one person in the family is infected, others may become infected too. The bacteria can become airborne when the infected person coughs or sneezes. It can spread by person-to-person contact. Touching contaminated surfaces or the belongings of the infected person could be a contributing factor.
This infection could affect one or both the eyes. The symptoms might include:
- Redness in the whites of the eyes
- Thick discharge or pus from the infected eye
- Tearing of the eyes
- Itchy eyes
- The thick discharge dries and crusts over the eyelids
- Burning sensation in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Pain in the eyes
This eye condition is mostly associated with upper respiratory infections, common cold, or sore throat. It is highly contagious, and spreads when one inhales the respiratory secretions of the infected person. The symptoms include reddening of the eyes, excessive watering, and itching. The infection could even spread to the cornea. If one eye is infected, there’s also the possibility of the other eye getting infected.
This infection is self-limiting in nature. It must be noted that antibiotics and ointments do not work on viral infections. Treatment usually involves the use of eye drops like vasoconstrictors, decongestants to reduce surface swelling, and antihistamines to reduce itching.
Treatment and Home Remedies
In case of a bacterial infection, the treatment involves the use of antibiotic eye drops and ointments to kill the bacteria. The infection usually subsides in a few days. There are certain self-care measures that should be followed.
- Wash your eyes several times a day with cold water.
- Cut a slice of potato and place it on the eye. Potato works as an astringent and will help in reducing the inflammation.
- Do not throw away used teabags. Instead, place them over the eyes for 15 minutes. The bioflavonoids in the tea help fight bacterial, as well as viral infection. You can repeat this remedy several times a day. You can also place the tea bag in cold water, before you place it on your eyes.
Most of the time, conjunctivitis that is caused by bacteria clears off with antibiotic therapy. You will surely get relief by following the aforementioned self-care measures.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.