Conjunctivitis is a condition also known as pinkeye. It is characterized by an inflammation of the thin clear tissue or membrane that lies over the white part of the eye known as conjunctiva. The condition may be caused by bacterial, viral infections, chemical agents, allergies, some diseases and other causes.
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The symptoms of conjunctivitis differ depending on the causal agent of the disease. However there are certain usual symptoms like redness of the eye, swelling of the conjunctiva, watery eyes, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and increased sensitivity to light among others. Below are the symptoms of this conditions on different causes.
- Viral conjunctivitis: the symptoms of this condition are similar to the ones associated with the infections of the upper respiratory tract. They include watery eye, itching and sore throat.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: the symptoms include swelling of the conjunctiva, itching, redness of the eye and increased lacrimation.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: the symptoms include conjunctival redness, swelling of the eyelid and mucopurulent discharge.
Conjunctivitis or pinkeye is caused by several conditions. The eye is a very sensitive organ, and hence it tends to be affected by anything that may trigger its normal function. Below are several causes of conjunctivitis.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: This condition is caused by allergens such as perfumes, cosmetics, smoke, dust mites, pollen among many others. They affect the normal working of the eye which can lead to this condition.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: It is caused by bacterial especially if the patient has suffered or suffering from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia among others.
- Viral conjunctivitis: The condition may arise due to viruses that cause certain allergic conditions such as the common cold.
Before the doctor or any other medical practitioner can treat you, he or she must diagnose you to be sure that you are suffering from conjunctivitis. Different tests are carried out depending on what has caused the disease. A patch test is carried out to determine the allergen that might have caused the condition. This test is done in case the condition is caused by allergies. If granulomatous diseases like sarcoidosis is suspected, a conjunctival incisional biopsy is done. Swabs for bacterial culture are also important if the patient has a history of bacterial conjunctivitis. A viral culture is also done in the case of epidemic case clusters.
The eye is a very delicate organ that requires great care and a lot of professionalism when handling it. As described earlier, conjunctivitis can be caused by different circumstances, and hence the treatment differs. Below is the treatment of conjunctivitis in relation to its cause.
Bacteria: most of the sexually transmitted diseases STDs may cause conjunctivitis. The treatment of bacterial diseases includes the use of antibacterial drugs. It can be in the form of eye drops, pills or ointment.
Viruses: the virus that causes common cold may cause conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious and hence the patient should avoid contact with others. The treatment includes the use of antiviral drugs.
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