Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pink Eye

It has been a while since I've blogged and part of the reason is because my family has been fighting one sickness after another and I'm just tired.  It's hard enough to be sick but harder still to be pregnant and sick.

We've had it all the winter... two bouts of GI issues (the whole nausea, vomiting, diarrhea bit...) as well as your typical cough, congestion, upper respiratory infections.  We'll be well for maybe 1 week and then another member will start with runny nose and the cycle starts all over again.

Recently, I've developed conjunctivitis... or the laymen's term, "pink eye".  I haven't had this since I was a child!  So far, no one else in the family has gotten it and I hope it stays that way.

So conjunctivitis is basically inflammation of the membrane lining the eyelids.  The symptoms can consist of:
  • increased tearing
  • crusting that forms overnight
  • itching
  • redness
  • pain
  • blurred vision
  • gritty feeling
  • sensitivity to lights
There are many causes including:
  • viruses (most common cause)
  • bacteria
  • allergic
  • chemical
  • extended contact lense wear
Some other rare causes may also include:
  • fungal
  • parasites
So the treatment for this depends on the cause.  Examination of the eyes and sometimes a swab can be taken for analysis.  

For allergic conjunctivitis, cool compresses can help.  Allergy medication and/or eye drops can be prescribed to help.

Bacterial eye drops help with bacterial causes.  Viral infections should go away on its own but sometimes a mild antibiotic eye drop is prescribed to prevent bacterial infection.  Warm compresses help soothe discomfort.

Finally prevention is key in not spreading to others:
  • avoid rubbing eyes with hands
  • wash hands frequently
  • do not share towels or hankerchiefs
  • do not share eye cosmetics
  • change eye cosmetics regularly
  • clean contact lenses properly
  • change pillow cases regularly