Conjunctivitis is known for an annoying eye health problem that everyone can get. What is conjunctivitis? What caused this problem? How do we treat it? These questions pop up inside our minds when we got this problem. For that reason, we have written this article. Here, you can learn more about conjunctivitis and how to deal with it.
What is conjunctivitis?
This eye health problem is also known as pinkeye. The pink color in your eyes appears because of the inflammation on the conjunctiva, which is a transparent tissue that covers the white part of your eyes.
This part spreads to the inside part of your eyelid. Therefore, when you get conjunctivitis, the part under the eyelid also turns red. In addition to red eyes, conjunctivitis can be accompanied by itching of the eyes and watery eyes.
Conjunctiva contains blood vessels that will widen during conjunctivitis. Dilation of blood vessels is what causes red eye symptoms. This conjunctivitis often causes red eyes in infants, eye pain in children, as well as older persons.
Mostly, conjunctivitis occurs in children. Worst of all, this eye disease can easily spread and infect other kids. Because of its nature, without proper treatment, it can infect many kids at school or the place where your kids play. Therefore, when your kid got this eye problem, we suggest you keep them from going to school or interact with other kids to limit its spread.
Conjunctivitis can also be a sign that a person has been infected with the CORONAVIRUS that causes COVID-19.
Although it is rare, conjunctivitis also is well-known, capable of damaging your eyes. It blurs and even ruins your vision without proper treatment. Treatment for this condition is necessary as soon as possible. Go to the doctor whenever you or your kid got this problem to get the diagnosis for the treatment that you need.
Conjunctivitis risk factors
Some factors that increase a person’s risk of conjunctivitis include:
- Using contact lenses.
- Exposure of a person infected with viral or bacterial conjunctivitis.
- Exposure to something that makes you allergic (allergic conjunctivitis).
What is Conjunctivitis Caused By?
So, what causes conjunctivitis? There are at least six factors that cause this problem, such as:
- Allergic reactions to things, such as pollen, dust, or smoke.
- Specific allergies that affect people wearing contact lenses.
- Reaction to eye drops.
- Fungi, amoeba, and parasites.
- Viruses – conjunctivitis also occurs a lot along with the common cold. Therefore, the cold/flu virus also can cause this problem.
- Bacteria – it comes from an outside source, like when you wipe or scratch your eyes without washing your hand.
- Irritants – some products and objects also can cause inflammation, such as dirt, smoke, or shampoo.
- Medicine – eye drops also can cause this problem if you have no tolerance against it or it has ingredients that are too strong for your eyes.
- Allergen – pollen, smoke, dust, or other allergens also can cause inflammation that makes this pink eye problem occur. You also can get this allergic effect when you wear contact lenses.
- Microorganism – other than bacteria, conjunctivitis also can occur because of fungi, parasites, amoebas, and other microorganisms.
Conjunctivitis is also sometimes caused by s**exually transmitted diseases (STDs). Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are examples of STDs that can cause conjunctivitis.
The Types of Conjunctivitis
Based on various factors, like severity, cause, and other things, we can divide conjunctivitis into several types. Here are the types of conjunctivitis that are well-known today:
- Viral strains – it is also known as viral conjunctivitis. This type is the most contagious of all. It occurs on one eye and it can easily spread to the other eyes in a few days. You also feel something swollen in the area right front of your ear or under the jawbone.
- Bacterial strains – this type causes a lot of mucus to come out of your eyes.
- Allergic types – it causes redness in your eyes, plus itch, tear, and runny nose.
- Ophthalmia neonatorum – Bacteria is the cause of this type of conjunctivitis. It occurs a lot in a newborn baby. You should treat it immediately to prevent any eye damage on your baby.
- Giant papillary – it occurs because of wearing contact lenses too long.
What is conjunctivitis? From this point, we believe that you know the important points of this eye problem. However, to prevent and treat this problem, there is another thing that you also should learn about. It is the symptoms and, of course, the treatment for conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis types causes
The condition is divided into three types, namely allergies, infections, and chemical exposure. The following are the types of conjunctivitis based on the cause:
Noninfectious conjunctivitis is a type of inflammation of the non-contagious conjunctiva.
Symptoms can include itching accompanied by watery eyes. The eyes can be reddish, but usually not as bright as other types. There are 2 types of non-allergic conjunctivitis, namely:
Allergic conjunctivitis generally appears in people who have seasonal allergies. The eyes will start to swollen, redden, and itchy if you are exposed to allergy triggers. Allergic inflammation of the conjunctiva that causes long (chronic) swelling of the outer layer of the eye is called vernal conjunctivitis. It is common in people who have a history of strong allergies, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
This condition is caused by the presence of a foreign object in the eyes. If you wear contact lenses frequently and don’t regularly change them, you’re more likely to experience this condition.
In contrast to before, the different types of conjunctival inflammation present in this group are contagious. This condition is distinguished into three parts, namely:
This is most often caused by a bacterial infection of the staphylococcal or streptococcus of your own skin or respiratory system. Insects, physical contact with others, not maintaining cleanliness, or using contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions are things that can cause conjunctival inflammation due to bacterial infections. In addition, borrowing each other’s make-up and wearing contact lenses that are not your own or not cleaned can also cause this condition.
The most common viral infection that causes conjunctivitis is adenovirus. The condition can generally heal on its own without treatment, within 2-4 weeks. The eye droppings that appear are usually clear in color. In the type of herpes virus that attacks the eyes, the condition can be accompanied by the onset of flexion on the eyelids with a size of < 1 mm and contains fluid.
It is not uncommon for infections to be accompanied by upper respiratory distress, fever, or enlarged lymph nodes. This eye pain can be transmitted through direct contact with eye wax or airway mucus. Transmission of viral conjunctivitis can also occur indirectly through towels and pool water exposed to the virus.
This type of conjuctivitis is a severe form of conjunctival inflammation that appears in newborns.
This condition can be caused by irritation from air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
What is Conjunctivitis Symptoms?
The knowledge about conjunctivitis symptoms will help you to detect this problem at its earlier stage. And then, you can apply the treatment for it which can improve the chance of recovering and prevent any serious problem later. So, here is the common conjunctivitis symptoms that you need to know.
- Redness. The eyes become reddish because the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva are inflamed. Redness on the white part of your eyes and inner part of the eyelid,
- The eyes will feel sore and itchy and uncomfortable as if there is a foreign object in the eyes
- Glare. Your eyes become more sensitive to light,
- Swollen eyes,
- Your eyes are tearing more than usual, Tear production will be more active due to inflammation.
- Thick yellow mucus. It happens a lot when you are sleeping, so when you awake, it is hard to open your eyes because it feels like being glued.
- Green or white mucus from your eyes,
- Itchy, burning, and other weird sensations along with the redness on your eyes,
- Blurred vision,
- Swollen lymph nodes, which mostly occur because of viral strain conjunctivitis.
Once you find at least one of those symptoms, you should visit the doctor immediately. If it happens to your newborn baby, go to the doctor as soon as possible. Prioritize to visit the eye doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
To determine the diagnosis of conjunctivitis, a series of medical interviews and physical examinations are required by a doctor or ophthalmologist. Early diagnosis can help prevent the disease from spreading, as conjunctivitis can be contagious. However, conjunctivitis does not interfere with vision.
Conjunctivitis can cause inflammation of the cornea that affects vision. In infants, conjunctivitis can cause them to permanently lose sight.
Therefore, the disease requires treatment as quickly as possible so as not to cause complications.
The Treatments for Conjunctivitis
We recommend the medical treatment that your doctor suggested. However, for first aid, you can try home remedies for conjunctivitis treatment. It is easy. Use the cool compresses.
Close your eyes and put it on them to ease the inflammation and swollen part of your eyes. Make sure the cloths you use for cool compress are clean and hygienic. Do this for around 5-10 minutes 3-4 times a day until you feel comfortable.
Your doctor may suggest you use artificial tears to clean your eye’s surface from any bacteria or other object that causes conjunctivitis. You also may have to take some vitamins to improve your body’s immune system to recover from the inflammation.
In the worst case, your doctor may prescribe antiviral or antibiotic medicine to support your body’s healing process.
Maintaining personal hygiene is the best way to prevent conjunctivitis transmission. We can do this in the following ways:
- Do not touch the eyes with your hands
- Wash your hands as often as possible
- Use clean towels and wipes every day
- Do not share towels
- Change pillowcases as often as possible
- Remove damaged or expired eye cosmetics
- Do not share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.
Conjunctivitis is no more contagious than the common cold. So, it will not cause problems if we have to do activities even though we are experiencing conjunctivitis. However, we still have to keep ourselves well clean.
In short, conjunctivitis is not a dangerous eye problem, but it could be annoying and dangerous. Therefore, find out its symptoms and get the treatment as soon as possible.
More importantly, keep your body hygiene because, in most cases, conjunctivitis occurs because of external factors, like dirt and bacteria. Now, we hope whenever someone asks you “what is conjunctivitis?” you also can answer and help them.