Conjunctivitis: Causes and Tips for Prevention
What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva – the transparent film that covers the whites of the eyes. Anyone can have it, but it is more common among children. This is because they don’t take steps to prevent or know how to take care of it. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes. It is usually nothing more than a minor eye irritation, however it always pays to understand the causes, symptoms and ways in which you can treat it, so it does not turn into a more serious condition.
Types and Causes
- Allergic Conjunctivitis – Caused by pollen, dust or allergy caused by contact lenses.
- Infectious conjunctivitis – Caused by bacteria or virus passed from one person to the other.
- Irritant Conjunctivitis – Caused by chemicals from hair care products or cosmetics, chlorinated water, or from a loose eyelash touching the surface of the eye.
- Feeling as if there is sand in the eye
- Tears running from the eyes
- Itching in the eye
- Yellowish or Greenish discharge from one or both eyes
- Sensitivity to any form of light
- Reddening of the eyes
- Blurred vision
How Can You Prevent Conjunctivitis?
Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are contagious. You can prevent getting it or passing it to someone by taking a few preventive steps like:
- Not using the sufferer’s cosmetics, eye makeup or eye drop.
- Not sharing clothes, handkerchiefs, beddings, or towels with an infected person.
- Washing your hands with soap and water always especially if you are the one infected.
- Keeping your hands away from the infected eye.
- Washing your handkerchiefs or other forms of cloth used when infected.
- Staying away from work or school to prevent a further spread.
Conjunctivitis doesn’t really need treatment as it often goes away after 4 to 7 days. However, if it stays around for too long, we recommend booking in to see your optometrist. Please see below a few ways in which you can treat conjunctivitis:
- If it it’s a bacterial infection, you may be given eye drops by your optometrists.
- If it is chemical, it is better to wash the eyes with plenty of clean water to remove the chemicals immediately.
- While waiting for the few days to pass before it heals completely, you can lessen the pain by using a cold compress on the eyes. Make sure to change the towel as often as possible so the infection doesn’t spread.
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