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Conjunctivitis – Causes and Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is the redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and the surface of the eye. Inflammation causes the small blood vessels to become more prominent in the conjunctiva which causes the pink or red cast to the white part of the eyes. Hence it is also called pink eyes. The cause of pink eyes is a bacterial or viral infection. It rarely affects the vision but take steps to ease the discomfort as it can be contagious. Early treatment is helpful to limit the spread.

Causes of Conjunctivitis
The causes of pink eye include:

  • Viral infection: Viruses that cause common cold can be one of the causes of conjunctivitis and this type is highly contagious. Wash hands frequently and avoid contact with others.
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: This is caused by bacteria and may affect one or both the eyes. Bacterial conjunctivitis often produces a thick, yellow green discharge and can be associated with respiratory infections.
  • Allergic reactions: Some allergy causing substance like pollen or any allergens that cause allergic reactions can lead to pink eyes.
  • A chemical splash in the eye: Corrosive acids or other industrial chemicals when splashed in the eye can cause the inflammation of the conjunctiva.
  • A Foreign object in the eye: Dust particles or any foreign particles that get into the eye can cause swelling of the conjunctiva.
  • Newborns: A blocked tear duct can cause pink eye in the case of newborns.

Other factors
The other factors that cause a pink eye include:

  • Exposure to to an infected person with the viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis.
  • People using contact lenses.
  • Exposure to an allergen for allergic reactions

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
The symptoms of infectious conjunctivitis include:

  • Eye pain
  • Redness of the eyes
  • A gritty feeling of the eyes
  • Itching of the eye
  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Green or yellow watery discharge from the eyes
  • An enlargement of the lymph gland in front of the eye
  • The discharge in one or both the eyes forms a crust during the night

Symptoms caused by allergens are:

  • Excessive tearing of the eye
  • Redness of the eye
  • Intense itching of the eye
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling of the eye

When to consult your doctor?

When you find watery eyes or any reddish discoloration of the eyes, immediately consult your doctor as conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can spread easily. If this disease is diagnosed early, then you can protect other people around you from contracting this eye infection. Treatment can help you cope with the symptoms and reduces the risk of complications.

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