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Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye) Diagnosis & Treatment | Manhattan Beach, CA
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Manhattan Beach, CA / (310) 545-4090

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Understanding Conjunctivitis

The term conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye or red eye) refers to an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane covering the eyeball. Because the term conjunctivitis is familiar to so many people, many patients feel comfortable diagnosing it and treating it themselves. But people usually fail to consider one simple factor: there are three different strains of conjunctivitis. Most cases of conjunctivitis are minor, but if left untreated, the condition can easily develop into a more serious problem.

Each type of conjunctivitis is caused by different factors and responds to different treatments. If you think you have conjunctivitis, it’s important to see a doctor, as only they can formally diagnose your specific case, and recommend the right course of treatment.

Take a Proactive Approach to Eye Health

If you believe you have pink eye, visit your doctor to determine the cause of your conjunctivitis and the best method of treatment.

Causes of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can come from a number of different causes, including:

  • Viruses
  • Allergies (especially dust and pollen allergies)
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Prolonged use of contact lenses
  • STIs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

The symptoms of conjunctivitis vary depending the strain the patient has contracted. Sufferers of conjunctivitis may experience:

  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tear production
  • Itching, burning, or stinging eyes
  • Thick, sticky yellow or white discharge from the eyes
  • Crusts that form on eyelashes overnight
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Swelling
  • Pink discoloration of the whites of the eyes

Type of Conjunctivitis

Bacteria is a natural part of the body. Unfortunately, when certain kinds of bacteria are introduced to the body, they can cause serious problems. Bacterial conjunctivitis is an example of a bacteria-based problem in the eyes.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious, and while it usually starts in one eye, it’s not uncommon for the infection to spread to the second eye. This form of conjunctivitis occasionally develops as a result of an uncontrolled sinus infection.

Treatment

Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may also recommend medication to relieve the discomfort you’re experiencing.

Allergic reactions occur when the body misinterprets harmless stimuli as a threat, sending the body into defense mode. This type of defense reaction is what causes allergic conjunctivitis. Sensitivity to pet hair, pollen, dust, and other allergens cause the eyes to become red and irritated. The best way to avoid allergic conjunctivitis is to remove the allergens responsible.

Treatment

Although it’s sometimes easier to avoid the stimuli responsible for allergic conjunctivitis, you can relieve your symptoms with the use of antihistamines or allergy medications.

Viruses are responsible for most common illnesses, including influenza and the common cold. When a virus infects the eye, it causes viral conjunctivitis. This strain is very contagious, and can be contracted when someone sick with a cold touches their eye.

Viral conjunctivitis usually starts in one eye, but can easily spread to the other.

Treatment

In most cases, your immune system will fight off viral conjunctivitis on its own. Despite this, it’s crucial that you get a formal diagnosis. Only a doctor can ensure that your case is, in fact, viral, as opposed to bacterial.

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