ABC Medical Center > Padecimientos > Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

21:53 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Pink eye (conjunctivitis)?

It is an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye, which is a thin membrane found on the inner eyelid and on the sclera or outer white part of the eye. Conjunctivitis is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections, although it can also be due to allergic reactions or, in the case of babies, blocked tear ducts.

When the blood vessels of the outer layer of the eye become inflamed, they protrude becoming more evident, so the eyes look red, which does not affect sight, but it is annoying and, since it is an infection, there is a risk of contagion. It is important to diagnose it early and receive the appropriate treatment to eradicate it in order to avoid possible damage to the cornea if there is too much inflammation. 

Pink eye types according to their origin:

  • Viral and bacterial: these are the two most common types and are highly contagious.
  • Allergic: it is an immune system response to the presence of a substance to which it is sensitive.
  • Irritation from foreign substances or objects in the eye.

Symptoms

  • Itch.
  • Irritation.
  • Red eyes.
  • Eye goop. 
  • Teary eyes.
  • Sensation of having something in the eye.

How to avoid contagion:

  • Perform hand hygiene constantly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes.
  • Use individual towels and do not share them.
  • Keep your sheets and pillowcases clean.
  • Regularly change  and do not lend beauty and eye care products, such as mascara, shadows, eye drops, etc.

Diagnosis and treatment

Once the doctor asks about your symptoms and reviews your medical history, he or she will perform a physical examination, which is usually enough to diagnose it, although if an underlying disease is suspected or the symptoms are intense, he or she will take an eye secretion sample to be analyzed in the laboratory.

Since most pink eye is caused by a viral infection, there are no medications that can help, unless it is a condition caused by herpes simplex, in which case you will be prescribed an antiviral. This type of pink eye usually goes away on its own in a couple of weeks without major complications. 

If a bacterial infection is the cause, the treatment seeks to control the symptoms and fight the infection, so he or she will prescribe anti-inflammatories and eye antibiotics, as well as moisturizing eye drops, and will recommend the application of cold cloths to the eyelids several times a day. 

If you wear contact lenses, you will need to remove them until you are fully healed and will probably recommend that you throw them away and get new ones, because the source of the infection may be located in them. 

When it comes to allergic-type conjunctivitis, you should use eye drops with antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, and steroids. In addition, the doctor will ask you questions to try to identify the possible allergen agent so that you can take the necessary measures and avoid being in contact with it. 

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes:

  • cdc.gov
  • aao.org
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • nei.nih.gov
  • medigraphic.com
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  • Fromow-Guerra JJ, García-Aguirre G. Recomendaciones para la atención de pacientes con padecimientos oftalmológicos. Med Int Mex. 2020;36(Suppl: 2):56-59.
  • Notejane-Iglesias M, Casuriaga AL, Giachetto-Larraz GA. Hospitalizaciones por conjuntivitis neonatal infecciosa en un centro de referencia de Uruguay: características clínicas y evolutivas. Rev Hosp Jua Mex. 2019;86(1):26-32.

						
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