What are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?

What are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer of tissue that covers the white part of the eye (sclera) and lines the inner surface of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis can have various causes, including viral, bacterial, or allergic reactions, and the symptoms can vary accordingly. Common symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  1. Redness: The whites of the eyes may become noticeably red or pink, which is why it’s often called “pink eye.”
  2. Eye Itching: Conjunctivitis caused by allergies is often associated with itching and may affect both eyes.
  3. Eye Discharge: The eyes may produce discharge that can be watery, clear, yellow, green, or white, depending on the cause. Bacterial conjunctivitis often produces thick, yellow or green discharge, while viral conjunctivitis may have a clear, watery discharge.
  4. Tearing: Excessive tearing or watery eyes can be a symptom of conjunctivitis.
  5. Swelling: Swelling of the eyelids and conjunctiva can occur, making the eyes appear puffy.
  6. Sensitivity to Light: Some individuals with conjunctivitis may experience photophobia, which is sensitivity to light that can cause discomfort or pain when exposed to bright light.
  7. Foreign Body Sensation: It may feel like there is something in the eye, causing irritation or discomfort.
  8. Crustiness: Bacterial conjunctivitis can lead to the formation of crusts or “eye boogers” on the eyelashes, especially upon waking.
  9. Blurred Vision: In some cases, conjunctivitis can cause temporary blurred vision, but this is usually mild.

It’s important to note that conjunctivitis can be contagious, depending on the underlying cause. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, in particular, are contagious, and proper hygiene measures should be followed to prevent the spread of the infection.

Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause:

  • Viral Conjunctivitis: Typically resolves on its own within a week or two. Antiviral medications may be prescribed in severe cases.
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Often treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments.
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: Managed by avoiding allergens when possible and using antihistamine eye drops or oral medications.

To determine the exact cause and appropriate treatment for conjunctivitis, it’s essential to consult with an eye healthcare professional, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They can provide a diagnosis and recommend the most suitable course of treatment based on the specific symptoms and cause of the conjunctivitis.

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