Pink eye or conjunctivitis happens when the membrane covering the inner surface of the eyelids plus the outer area of the eye is inflamed. This is called the conjunctiva. Although the redness may happen in one eye at first, it is quite common for it to spread to the other eye immediately. Most people wonder how do you get pink eye, and would even be worried that this could lead to loss of vision if not treated right away.
Pink eye symptoms include itchiness and pain inside the eyes, usually on the upper eyelids. Discharge that is sticky usually comes out and could make it difficult to open the eyes. Symptoms are similar to that of the common cold, such as inflamed lymph nodes near the ears, which is why some people may take the condition for granted.
Conjunctivitis is easily diagnosed, because the first symptom is redness and soreness. The doctor can easily tell simply by looking at the patient or running a swab on the eyes. People who wear contact lenses should immediately see a specialist if they develop these symptoms. Not paying attention to this could scar the cornea seriously or cause infections that may affect your vision.
The question, how do you get pink eye, is not an easy one to answer, because there are many ways that one can get conjunctivitis. Pink eye may result from bacteria, virus, allergy or even a sexually transmitted disease. Thus, although diagnosis may be easy, finding out the root of the problem may be quite challenging.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common of pink eye varieties. Eyes get red and sore and a sticky substance is discharged. An ophthalmic ointment is usually prescribed in order to lessen the discomfort and heal the cause of the infection. If this does not bring relief, cold compress applied on the eyelids and taking paracetamol could help.
Sometimes, pink eye could also be a viral infection. Patients suffering from conjunctivitis due to a virus are given eye drops to relieve the swollen blood vessels inside the eyes. This type of conjunctivitis is very contagious, so most patients are advised to stay at home, until the disease is controlled. Patients may also be given corticosteroid drops, but only under the supervision of a doctor.
Chlamydia trachomatis, an organism that can cause infections that affect the mucous membranes in the body can also lead to conjunctivitis. Tetracycline tablets are usually prescribed to the patient to avoid the spread of the infection. Since the infection could have started on other parts of the body, and transmitted through sexual contact, both the patient and the sexual partner should get treatment.
Infants and young children may also get conjunctivitis, which should not be taken lightly. Once the eyes get itchy, inflamed and have sticky discharge, the patient should be taken to an ophthalmologist right away. There are some medications that should not be given to infants and children, so avoid self-medication, as this could lead to a more serious condition.
How do you get pink eye stopped? The way to the cure is through prevention. Keep hands clean all the time and avoid touching the eyes with dirty hands. If the eyes get infected, immediately wash with lukewarm water mixed with salt to stop the condition from worsening and to relieve the pain.