Conjunctivitis

General Illness Information


Common Name:

Pink Eye

Medical Term: Conjunctivitis

Description: Inflammation of the mucosal lining (underside) of the eyelids and the white of the eyes.  Discharge may or may not be present. More commonly seen in children. It may be infectious or non-infectious.

Causes: Bacterial

Viral, allergic, autoimmune, chemical or irritative, rickettsial, fungal, parasitic, tuberculosis, syphilis, Kawasaki disease, Thyroid disease, gout, carcinoid, sarcoidosis, psoriasis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Reiter’s syndrome.

Prevention:

Wash hands frequently. Avoid infections.

Signs & Symptoms

May affect one or both eyes.

  • Redness;
  • Burning and/or gritty feeling in the eye;
  • Increased tearing;
  • Green or yellow discharge from the eyes, usually with bacterial infection;
  • Crusting causing eyelid to stick together (after sleeping);
  • Intense itching (in allergic conjunctivitis), often with swelling of eye membranes;
  • In some cases, sensitivity to light.

Risk Factors

  • Newborns of mothers who are carriers of gonorrhea or chlamydia;
  • Crowded or unsanitary living conditions;
  • Exposure to others in public places, such as day care centers and public schools;
  • Exposure and contact with persons with acute bacterial conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis & Treatment

This is diagnosed clinically. In complex cases, cultures and antibody testing may be performed.

General Measures:

  • Use warm-water soaks or cold water to reduce discomfort;
  • Apply warm wash-cloths to the eyes when stuck together with discharge;
  • Don’t use eye makeup;
  • Do not wear contact lenses until the infection is completely resolved;
  • Never use eye drops prescribed for someone else, or prescribed at another time for you.

Medications:

  • Treatment is dependent upon the cause;
  • Antibiotic drops for bacterial infections;
  • Antiviral drops for viral infections;
  • The underlying cause must be treated.

Activity:

As tolerated

Diet:

As tolerated

Possible Complications :

Chronic conjunctivitis, Conjunctival scar if membrane developed, Corneal ulcer or perforation, Rare portal of entry for meningococcus, Corneal scars with herpes simplex, Bacterial superinfection

Prognosis

Excellent, with proper treatment.

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