Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the thin, transparent layer that lines the inner eyelids and covers the white part of the eye. Common symptoms include red watery eyes, mild discomfort, inflamed inner lids, blurred vision, a scratchy feeling in the eyes and occasional discharge.
There are three types of conjunctivitis:
Infectious conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”, as it is commonly called, is caused by a virus or bacteria. Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are highly contagious. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. Warm compresses help soothe your eyes as well. Viral conjunctivitis typically clears up on its own after a few days. Antibiotic drops are prescribed to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis is a side effect of the body’s allergies to pollen, cosmetics, certain fabrics or animals. It is estimated that over 22 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic conjunctivitis. Antihistamine eye drops are recommended to control the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergy pills may be added if the symptoms are severe.
Chemical conjunctivitis is caused by irritants such as air pollution and chlorine in swimming pools. Soothing eye drops are recommended to decrease the irritation. The eye doctors at the Shammas Eye Medical Center will examine the eyes, determine the type of conjunctivitis and start the appropriate treatment.