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Pink eye is that nasty word so many moms just hate to hear. It is very common and highly contagious among young children. Conjunctivitis is the original name of pink eye and is when there is an irritation of the thin, normally transparent lining that covers the inner surface of the eyelids and the outer surface of the white of the eye called the sclera. Symptoms of pink eye include itching, redness, sensitivity to light and infected mucus around the eye. Conjunctivitis is called pink eye because of the red appearance one has when they become affected with pink eye.

There are several causes of conjunctivitis and these include allergies, infection by bacteria or viruses, or exposure to chemicals or other irritants. When the case is someone with allergic conjunctivitis, the conjunctiva, or transparent membrane that covers the eyeball appears to be swollen and red. Watery eyes and severe itchiness are common symptoms.
If conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, a sticky, yellow discharge may be present. The discharge may show up between the eyelids during sleep, causing the lids to stick together. When there is redness, itchiness and a clear, watery discharge, you can be sure it s viral conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is very common. It is especially common with people that suffer from allergies. Pink eye is nothing to be scared of and if properly treated at first sight of the symptoms, can be healed and taken care of within a few days.

The treatment for pink eye is simple and is typically treated with medicated eye drops or ointments. In some very rare cases pink eye is treated with oral medicines. The vast majorities of types of conjunctivitis are not damaging or causes of loss of sight. However, when conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to chemicals, this is a medical emergency and requires immediate action to prevent eye damage. If some chemical has come in contact with the eye, flush the eye with a gentle stream of water for at least 10 minutes. Cover the eye and get to the emergency room or Urgent Care immediately. Although flushing the eye with water alone may prevent long term damage to the eye, it is extremely important that you see your eye doctor immediately to assess your eye.

There are many steps you can take to prevent pink eye. Wash your hands frequently during the day. Because pink eye is so highly contagious, it is important to wash your hands and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes. Having a lot of contact with your eyes can be a huge factor in contracting the virus. Do not share a pillow, towel, make-up, or washcloths with others. All of these items come in contact with your eye and are easy places for the virus to stay dormant and can infect your eyes as well. If you have a case of bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, make sure to discard your current make-up, mascara and eyeliner. These items have been in contact with the bacteria and can reinfect your eyes with continued use of them.

If you are unsure of whether or not you may have pink eye, visit your eye doctor immediately and get the proper treatment. With respect to co-workers, schoolmates and others, it is important to make sure you get the medication to treat pink eye and stay home.

If you don t have an eye doctor, our Vision Care site offers many tools and resources to help connect you with one. Check out the site today and get other great vision tips in keeping your eyes healthy and seeing well.

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