Our Team of Optometrists in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, and Lighthouse Point Treat & Prevent Conjunctivitis
When you hear the term "pink eye," you may think of classrooms and young children. While it can and does affect toddlers and adolescents, pink eye—known clinically as conjunctivitis—can afflict people of all ages. Our staff here at Eye Site Vision wants everyone to be aware of this common condition and how it can be avoided and treated.
What is Conjunctivitis?
You have a thin layer of transparent tissue, called the conjunctiva, covering your inner eyelids and the outer layer of your eyes. Conjunctivitis occurs when this layer becomes inflamed and irritated, typically due to some sort of bacterial infection, viral infection, or allergic reaction to chemicals such as chlorine, smoke, eye makeup, and pollen.
Signs & Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms (in one or both eyes), you may have a case of conjunctivitis on your hands:
- Red, itchy, sore, and/or burning eyes
- Pink or red eyes
- The feeling of sand or grit stuck in the eye
- Excessive watery discharge and tearing (this may dry out and leave a crusty residue)
- Discharge from one or both eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Hypersensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Blurry vision
Treatment for Conjunctivitis
Some forms of conjunctivitis are contagious and can easily spread. Proper hand hygiene and resisting the temptation to rub or itch the eyes are key to preventing this. Though conjunctivitis is generally considered a mild issue and may go away on its own, it can lead to serious problems if left untreated. Consult with an optometrist if you have signs and symptoms so that the underlying cause can be diagnosed and proper treatment can be initiated.
Diagnosis is based on eye examination, patient history, and (potentially) cultures of the affected conjunctiva. Depending on the cause of your pink eye, we can prescribe and implement a variety of services to relieve inflammation and pain, including:
- Eye drops or ointments containing anti-histamine, anti-bacterial, and/or steroidal medication
- Removal or avoidance of known allergens in the environment
- Symptomatic strategies, e.g., cool compresses
- Updated prescription glasses (if contact lenses aren't tolerable)
Viral conjunctivitis must "run its course," so symptomatic relief efforts are important, especially to help patients avoid rubbing or itching their eyes (which could cause further issues like corneal abrasions).