Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
A conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye or sclera.
There are many subtypes of conjunctivitis and proper diagnosis is key for proper management. Sometimes early in the presentation it can be challenging to diagnose the nature of the conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis: Generally bilateral, the eyes are itchy, a bit swollen, teary. The main symptom well known to allergies sufferers is itchiness. Traditional methods include lubrication with artificial tears and cool compresses. Many optometrists will prescribe an anti allergy eye drop to help with the symptoms. Some are available Over The Counter but the more potent ones will require a prescription from your eye doctor.
Bacterial conjunctivitis: patient presents with a lot of discharge, complaining of the eyes being closed upon wakening. The eyes are red, show a muco-purulent discharge, discomfort, burning, light sensitivity but there is no pain. Bacterial conjunctivitis is due to an infection by a bacteria and can easily be treated by antibiotics eyedrops but is usually self limiting. The condition is contagious so it is important to respect proper hygiene to not contaminate others.
Viral conjunctivitis: This is know to the general public as "pink eye". The infection is caused by a virus. It is extremely contagious and very easy to catch. Typical presentation is first in one eye and then in the other eye. Patient presents with a lot of tearing, redness, discomfort, light sensitivity . Because the agent responsible for the contamination is a virus, antibiotics have no roles in the treatment of viral conjunctivitis unless the cornea is compromised. One particular subtype of viral conjunctivitis is called adenovirus conjunctivitis or epidemic conjunctivitis due to its extreme contagious nature. Left untreated this type of infection can leave permanent scars in the cornea known as sub-epithelial infiltrates. If you have pink eye it is important to make an appointment for an exam with your optometrist. He will determine the best course of action. That can include a betadine wash to kill the virus and anti-inflammatory eye drops to prevent scarring. If you have pink eye, make an appointment with your optometrist in North Miami for an eye exam, we do offer the betadine protocol to our patients with pink eye.