Conjunctivitis, which is commonly referred to as pink eye, is an eye condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eyeball. This condition can be treated by instilling medicated eye drops.
Conjunctivitis is a common eye infection that can affect children and adults. It occurs due to the exposure to allergens, bacteria, viruses, etc. The characteristic symptoms of this condition include redness, pain, swelling, discharge, and severe itching. Instilling medicated eye drops can help in providing relief from these symptoms. The type of eye drop that needs to be administered will depend on the type of conjunctivitis.
Causes and Symptoms
Conjunctivitis or pink eye is caused due to the inflammation of the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is a protective membrane that lines the sclera, the white portion of the eye. This membrane also covers the inner surface of the eyelids. It is categorized into bacterial, viral, and allergic conjunctivitis. More often than not, bacterial pink eye occurs due to Staphylococci or Streptococci bacteria. People affected by sore throat, respiratory infections, or common cold are more likely to develop the viral infection.
Allergic conjunctivitis, as the name suggests, occurs when one comes in contact with any substance that the immune system considers to be foreign. Dust, fumes, mites, chemicals, and various other substances can cause an allergic reaction. The symptoms and treatment vary, depending on the causative agent. Though symptoms such as redness, watering of eyes, itching, and discomfort are experienced regardless of the type of infection, some symptoms might differ.
For instance, in case of bacterial conjunctivitis, these symptoms might be accompanied by a yellow or green discharge. One might experience heavy tearing, if pink eye is induced by an allergen. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are contagious, and can spread by direct or indirect contact.
Eye Drops for Conjunctivitis
Though you can buy eye drops over-the-counter, using prescription eye drops is always a better option. It is always better to let the doctor determine the underlying cause. An examination of the sample of the eye discharge generally helps in determining the cause of the infection. In case of a bacterial infection, antibiotic eye drops are recommended. These contain active compounds that either kill the bacteria or prevent them from multiplying. In case of an allergic reaction, doctors suggest the use of saline solution. Antihistamines might also be prescribed.
The symptoms of viral conjunctivitis generally resolve on their own in a couple of weeks; however, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist. Doctors generally aim at providing symptomatic relief with the help of medicated eye drops that lubricate the eye. Application of hot or cold compresses can also provide relief. Since bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are contagious, take all possible precautions. If you are a contact lens user, don’t wear your lenses till the infection resolves. Wash your hands regularly and refrain from rubbing your eyes. Dispose off the tissues that you might be using for wiping your eyes.
Though home remedies can help in providing symptomatic relief, it is always better to use eye drops for treating conjunctivitis. Make sure that you follow all the eye care tips recommended by the doctor as well.
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.