Pink eye is a condition which involves the inflammation of the eye's outmost layer also known as 'conjunctiva'. Affecting one or both the eyes, pink eye technically referred to as conjunctivitis is caused by way of an infection. Pink eye which is extremely contagious can affect people of different age groups.

Causes of Pink Eyes

  • It may be caused by way of a viral infection; as one of the symptoms of cold, sore throat or that of an infection affecting the upper respiratory organs.
  • Viruses known as 'adenoviruses' and 'enteroviruses' are the most common viruses responsible for causing pink eye.
  • A kind of pus forming or 'pyogenic' bacteria may lead to pink eye or conjunctivitis. A bacterium by the name of 'Moraxella' usually contributes to causing pink eye.
  • Exposure or injury of the eye/eyes to chemical ingredients in forms of acids and bases may also cause pink eye.
  • Pink eye may also develop as a result of allergic reaction with eyes' interaction and exposure to allergen or irritants.
  • Usually transmitted from one to other, physical interaction with infected objects and water may give rise to pink eye.

Related Article → Pink Eyes (Conjunctivitis) - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Types of Pink Eyes

  • According to the factors causing it, pink eye may be categorized into the following types:
    • viral
    • bacterial
    • allergic
    • allergic
    • neo natal conjunctivitis affecting the new borns soon after delivery.
  • According to the degree and extent of infection, conjunctivitis may be divided into the following types.
  • 'Blepharoconjunctivitis' also affects the eye lids apart from the conjunctiva or the outer most part of the eye.
  • In keratoconjunctivitis the cornea is also inflamated along with the conjunctiva.
  • In 'episcleritis' there is an inflammation without the release of tears.

Symptoms of Pink Eyes

  • As suggested by its name pink eye, the infected eye takes on a reddish pink hue. Technically the condition is referred to as 'hyperemia'.
  • Itchy irritation or 'chemosis' of the infected eye is one of the symptoms.
  • The infected eye is marked by the discharge of tears and watery fluid. The condition is described as 'epiphora'
  • In bacterial conjunctivitis, a crust formation involving the infected eye is also notable.
  • Besides the formation of a crust like layer; release of yellowish discharge of thick consistency is also seen.
  • Pink eye caused by allergic reaction to any chemical or toxic content, is usually marked by necrosis or clot formation in the regions of conjunctiva.
  • Normally optic vision is not affected because of conjunctivitis. However vision may be blurred due to the excess discharge of mucous discharge.
  • Owing to inflammation and swelling the infected eyes become exceedingly painful. The pain is even more evident in pink eye occurring as a result of chemical reaction and allergy.

Pink Eyes Diagnoses

  • Usually by means of scrape or swab the underlying cause contributing to the occurrence of conjunctivitis is ascertained.
  • The microscopic culture or study of the obtained swab then serves to detect the possible nature of infection.
  • Sometimes elaborate observations of laboratory tested device are necessary to confirm the responsible causative factor.

Treatment for Pink Eyes

  • Viral conjunctivitis is often treated with artificial tears. At times cold compresses are also prescribed.
  • In bacterial conjunctivitis besides artificial tears antibiotics are also prescribed. Topical application of chloromycitin is recommended for relief and avoids the occurrences of secondary infections.
  • However even without the application of anti biotic, viral and bacterial caused pink eye are self healing by nature.
  • In cases of conjunctivitis caused by allergic reaction use of anti inflammatory formula, antihistamine and artificial tear drops are also prescribed.
  • In cases of pink eye caused owing to chemical injuries use of 'saline solution' and 'ringer's lactate' has been made use of.

Self care to Prevent Pink Eyes

  • Besides seeking medical guidance as to the application of topical antibiotics and antihistamine certain self care measures in forms of splashing water and occasional warm compresses may be effective.
  • The compress applied with the help of disinfected cotton pads should be tolerably warm rather than being too hot or cold.
  • With its highly infectious nature, care should be taken to disinfect hands and towels after touching the same with the infected eye.
  • One needs to avoid fingering or touching the infected eye. Any forms of physical contact with the infected eye, other than those needed for splashing and applying warm compresses should be avoided.
  • In cases of scratchy or itchy feelings, the use of tissue paper to gently brush the eye may be resorted to.
  • During the period of infection eyes should be saved from their possible exposure to the harmful ultra violet rays of sun. In case one needs to go out the infected eye should be shielded with protective sun glasses.
  • Utmost rest should be given to the infected eyes including resisting from the use of eye make ups and exposure to various forms of artificial lights.