Pink eye is one of the most common conditions to affect this sensitive area. Every year, many children miss school because of pink eye. It is highly contagious and can be very uncomfortable, although it is generally not life threatening. Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye can be caused by a number of different environmental and health factors.
Allergic Reactions and Pink Eye
Some patients develop pink eye as a result of allergies or hay fever. The presence of allergens causes a release of histamine which causes the uncomfortable symptoms associated with this medical condition. In cases of allergy induced pink eye, the only way to stop the problem is to avoid whatever caused the allergic reaction. This may be difficult during certain seasons of the year.
The presence of bacteria can also cause irritating pink eye. In this situation, the bacteria produce mucus or pus, which appears as a thick yellow or grey discharge. Patients experience discomfort, especially when they wake up due to mucus accumulation that causes eye lids to stick together. While many bacterial eye infections can produce pus, not all of them do. There are a few that will display other typical symptoms, such as redness, without the pus.
Viral Pink Eye
A viral infection can lead to pink eye as well. This is usually instigated by a cold or respiratory infection. Individuals suffering from viral induced pink eye will notice a watery discharge from the eye as well as an annoying itching sensation. In viral cases, pink eye is usually present in only one eye but can eventually spread to both if not carefully monitored and cared for.
Toxic Pink Eye
Chemicals are another cause of pink eye. In chemical infections, the patient will notice pain and irritation when they look very far up or down. The symptoms will be a little different, lacking the typical itchiness and discharge. The type of chemical involved will also indicate the symptoms the patient experiences.
Newborn Pink Eye
It is possible for newborns to develop pink eye. Inclusion conjunctivitis of the newborn, or ICN, happens when Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria is present. The baby will experience the same redness; however in these situations the condition will usually heal itself over time.
There are many ways to develop pink eye. Regardless of which symptoms appear, the patient should still seek out professional medical advice. A doctor can prescribe medication and provide sound advice to prevent the problem from spreading to the other eye or to other people.