When students head back to school, the number of cases of pink eye increases.
Pink eye spreads easily when students and teachers work closely together. Students from preschool to college, teachers, and daycare workers are most at risk because of shared items and shared spaces. Handwashing and proper hygiene are the best defense, but here are some details in case you suspect this very common eye problem.
What is Pink Eye?
Pink eye, also known as Conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin, clear covering of the outermost layer of the eye, the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids.
The best thing you can do if you suspect pink eye, is to come in to have Dr. Lobaugh or Dr. Teller examine the eye. There are 3 different types of conjunctivitis. It’s important to have the proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible!
If it’s viral conjunctivitis, it usually affects one eye. There is a light discharge, excessive watering, itching and crusting on the eyelids. It is contagious, but cannot be treated with antibiotics because the cause is viral.
- BACTERIAL CONJUNCTIVITIS
This type of conjunctivitis responds to antibiotics. It results in heavy yellow or greenish discharge, with crusting on the eyelids. It often spreads to both eyes. It’s important to get treatment started as soon as the symptoms appear.
- ALLERGIC CONJUNCTIVITIS
Allergic conjunctivitis comes with Itching, redness, swelling of the eyelid, and excessive tearing in both eyes. It often is accompanied by other signs of allergies, like a stuffy, itchy and runny nose. It’s not contagious since it is caused by dust or allergens. Artificial tears, antihistamine drops, and medication can help relieve the irritation.
Warm compresses on the on the outside of the eyelids can ease the discomfort of all three types of conjunctivitis. The problem is very common and easily treated, so don’t delay on seeing the doctor!
Diagrams courtesy of www.AllAboutVision.com.