Conjunctivitis is a condition in which swelling occurs in the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is a thin membrane covering the inside of the eyelids and the sclera or the white part of an eye. Conjunctivitis is also called pink eye. Conjunctivitis is mainly of three types: bacterial conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, and allergic conjunctivitis. Conjunctiva contains blood vessels that produce mucus to keep the eye moist. The blood vessels enlarge due to irritation and swelling of the conjunctiva, which makes the eye appear red.
Signs and symptoms of pink eye can appear in either one eye or in both. Pink eyes are more common in children, but adults may also get the condition. In rare or very severe cases, this may damage vision; hence, it is prudent to visit the doctor for proper treatment.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis caused by viral infection makes the eye appear very red and swollen. Though a viral-caused pink eye usually affects one eye, it can sometimes infect the other eye as well. A viral infection commonly causes a watery discharge and crusty eyelids. The watery discharge due to a viral eye infection can also contain strands of mucus. An allergic infection causes irritation, redness, and tears. Some common symptoms associated with this infection are listed below:
- Irritation in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Increased tears
- Sensation of a foreign body in the eye
Viral conjunctivitis is diagnosed using its associated signs and symptoms. Past medical history of the patient can also help proper diagnosis. Though laboratory tests are usually not required, in severe viral infection, testing may be advised. Additional signs and symptoms may vary based upon the causes.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
Causes of conjunctivitis include viral infection, bacterial infection, allergies, and irritation due to other environmental irritants. Viral infection is among the common causes of conjunctivitis. Viral infection is also the leading cause of colds, sore throat, and watery and teary eyes. Symptoms of viral infection may last for a few days to some weeks. Using antibiotic eye drops cannot cure conjunctivitis caused by viral infection.
Bacterial infection also causes redness but it can be treated using antibiotic medicinal drops. Allergic infection is caused on exposure to allergens that can cause irritation. Environmental irritants such as smoke, smog, and dust can also trigger allergic reactions.
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