Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is a condition involving inflammation of a specific area of the eye. Your eyes have a thin clear tissue called the conjunctiva that protects the white part of the eye. When this tissue becomes inflamed, you may experience redness and a watery discharge.
If you suspect that you have pink eye, review the most common symptoms and schedule an appointment with an eye doctor or physician for treatment.
Common Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
Common conjunctivitis symptoms include redness of the eye, watery eyes, and a gritty feeling under your eyelid. You may also experience a watery discharge. Overnight, this discharge may harden, causing your eyelids to stick together until you wipe them clean with a damp washcloth.
Some of these symptoms may be the result of issues other than the pink eye. For example, when you get dirt or debris in your eye, you may experience redness and watery eyes. This is also common with minor scratches. However, there are a couple of additional symptoms that may indicate that you have conjunctivitis.
You may experience sensitivity to light and blurry vision as your eyes fill with the watery discharge. When you blink, this should clear the blurry vision. If you experience these symptoms along with the previous symptoms, you may have conjunctivitis.
Common Treatments for Conjunctivitis
There are multiple types of conjunctivitis with their own treatments. This includes viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, which are spread from person to person and are the most common forms of pink eye. Conjunctivitis can also be caused by allergic or chemical reactions.
If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to help kill the bacteria. For viral conjunctivitis, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter eye drops to soothe the irritation, as the symptoms should go away on their own within seven to ten days.
Conjunctivitis caused by an allergic or chemical reaction may not go away without determining the cause of the irritation. You may need to avoid the trigger that caused the negative reaction.
Besides these treatments, your doctor will likely recommend that you wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes. The eye crust that develops from the watery discharge should be carefully wiped clean with a damp cloth. Applying a warm or cold compress over your eyes may also help relieve irritation.
Conjunctivitis is not always easy to diagnosis on your own. There are many possible causes of eye irritation and redness, such as dirt in the eye or a minor scratch. When you experience persistent irritation, visit your doctor to receive a thorough evaluation. Your general physician or an optometrist can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment to help restore the health of your eyes.