The Optometrists of Lansing are here to take care of all your eye care needs, including conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a prevalent eye condition that can affect both children and adults. There are about 3 million cases per year in the United States. Treatment is determined on a case by case basis and is not always necessary. Read on to learn more about the condition, and when you should see your eye doctor if you have it.
What Is Conjunctivitis?
Your eye has a thin, transparent layer of tissue that covers the white part of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelid. This tissue is called conjunctiva, and it becomes inflamed when you have conjunctivitis. The inflammation makes blood vessels become more visible, making the eye look red or pink. Bacterial or viral infections are usually the cause of pink eye. Pink eye can also occur as a result of exposure to irritants such as dirt, chlorine, and shampoos. It can also occur as an allergic reaction to things like eye drops, dust, or pollen. Conjunctivitis can also occur from sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
What Are the Types of Conjunctivitis?
- Viral strains are the most common and most contagious forms. It typically passes from one eye to the other and leads to watery discharge and overproduction of tears. Lymph nodes in front of the ear or underneath the jawbone may also swell.
- Bacterial strains may infect only one eye and cause pus and mucus to form.
- Allergic conjunctivitis produces symptoms like allergies, such as itching, redness, and tearing. This will usually occur in both eyes.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction to contacts or an artificial eye.
- Ophthalmia neonatorum conjunctivitis affects newborns and comes from dangerous bacteria. The bacteria can lead to blindness or permanent eye damage. It is essential to let your doctor know if you suspect your newborn has conjunctivitis.
How Do I Get Diagnosed with Conjunctivitis?
It can be challenging to determine the underlying reason for conjunctivitis. Many signs and symptoms are often similar. At Optometrists of Lansing, we are experienced in dealing with the condition and can quickly find the cause and best course of treatment for you.
How Is Conjunctivitis Treated, and How Long Does it Take to Go Away?
Allergic conjunctivitis usually begins to clear once you remove the irritant. This may mean foregoing contacts until the conjunctivitis resolves. You can also try eliminating animal dander from your environment. Mild viral conjunctivitis often clears up without treatment in one to two weeks, but in some cases, it can take three weeks or more. For more severe viral strains, you may need antiviral medication. Your doctor can prescribe this if you have something like the herpes simplex virus. Mild bacterial conjunctivitis may clear up without treatment in two weeks. It is not uncommon to see improvement in two to five days. You may need antibiotics if there is discharge or pus, or if you have a compromised immune system. The same is true if your doctor suspects a specific kind of bacteria. When using prescribed antibiotic eye drops or ointment, infections should resolve within several days.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Speak to your physician immediately if your newborn has conjunctivitis. Delaying treatment could cause permanent vision damage. Also, call Optometrists of Lansing if you notice:
- A lot of green or yellow discharge is coming out of your eye.
- Your eyelids are stuck together when you wake up.
- Looking into bright light causes severe pain.
- The redness does not improve after two weeks.
- Symptoms do not improve with 24 hours with treatment on antibiotics for bacterial conjunctivitis.
Have other questions about conjunctivitis or other eye conditions? We have been providing quality eye care to the Lansing area for more than 50 years. When it comes to your eyes, trust them to our expert doctors Carrigan, Estes, and Kennedy.