What is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. What is it?

What is Conjunctivitis?

The popular name for conjunctivitis can make it seem not very serious. Pink eye, as people call it, can make one or both of your eyes feel extremely uncomfortable. A transparent membrane covering the white of your eye can become infected by bacteria or a virus, producing a reddish hue. While conjunctivitis usually does not affect your vision, it may in some cases. Diagnosis and treatment at Beyond 2020 Vision Specialists can relieve the discomfort of pink eye.

Knowing What to Expect from Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis or pink eye makes its presence known with recognizable symptoms. Aside from giving the eyes a distinctive pink color, it increases tear production as the body tries to provide soothing and comfort. Pink eye makes you think you have something in your eye, producing a strong urge to rub it. The itching or burning irritation may cause pus to appear or a crust on the eyelids to show up after sleep. If you wear contacts, they do not feel comfortable. In some cases, they may not remain in place as you normally expect them to do.

Understanding How Pink Eye Spreads to Others

Some viruses and bacteria that cause conjunctivitis can spread easily to someone else. You may get it or give it to others by coming in close contact. The contagion may spread by shaking hands or just touching. Coughing and sneezing can put germs in the air that expose you to the condition. Highly transmissible, pink eye germs can live on surfaces that others may touch. Without realizing how often you put your hands on your face, you may touch your eyes with the germs before you wash your hands.

Preventing Spreading Pink Eye

Some basic steps for good hygiene can prevent the spread of highly contagious and uncomfortable conjunctivitis. While simple to do, best practices let you help prevent spreading pink eye. Most especially, you can avoid worsening your condition or infecting someone else by not touching or rubbing your eyes.

Washing

Twenty seconds of hand-washing with soap and warm water may seem like a long time. Some people sing happy birthday or the alphabet song to keep track. It becomes especially important after you clean or put drops in your infected eye. A hand sanitizer with 60 percent or more alcohol can clean your hands as well.

Cleaning

Before cleaning any discharge from your eyes, a practice you need to do several times a day, make sure to wash your hands. Then a one-time use of a clean wet cloth helps maintain sanitary conditions before laundering with detergent and hot water. After touching the germs, wash your hands with soap and warm water again.

Linens

You can help reduce the likelihood of contagion by maintaining a vigilant approach. Frequent laundering of pillowcases and sheets, washcloths, and towels can help keep infection down. In addition, washing your hands after any time you handle them can help provide the protection you need.

Glasses and Contacts

An optometrist can advise you when to start wearing your contacts again. While you have pink eye, clean and store your contacts properly. You may want to check with Dr. Christopher Tumolo at Beyond 2020 Vision Specialists about the best time to replace them.

When you clean your glasses, use disposable wipes to avoid using a hand towel that others might use without realizing the potential for infection.

Treatment Dispensers

Pink eye may not affect both eyes, and you can help maintain that situation by using separate eye drops and dispensers for each eye.

Personal Items

Remembering that every surface you touch can potentially spread germs to others can make you more aware. Bed linens, towels, and washcloths can transfer your germs to someone else. Likewise, the makeup brushes that you use must remain separate from those a friend or partner may use. Anything that touches an affected eye, such as contact lenses and storage cases, eye makeup, or glasses, needs special care.

Swimming Pools

While you may not feel like going for a swim while you have pink eye, germs can travel to others in a pool.

Avoiding a Reinfection

After having conjunctivitis one time, you surely do not want to experience it again. Throwing away everything you used except glasses or extended-wear contacts gives you the best chance to avoid reinfection.

Finding Help for Conjunctivitis

Beyond 2020 Vision Specialists in the Suncoast Crossings shopping center can provide care for pink eye. Located at 16230 State Road 54 in Odessa, the upscale office requires only a short drive from Trinity and Cheval. Treating bacterial or viral infections can remove the discomfort of conjunctivitis.