If you’ve heard the term conjunctivitis before, you probably associate it with pink eye, which is sometimes also called red eye.
It’s true that the infection we think of as pink eye is a type of conjunctivitis; the term conjunctivitis itself does not always refer to an infection. It’s really just the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue covering the whites of your eyes and the inside of your eyelids.
There are 3 main types of conjunctivitis, each of which requires a different kind of medication or treatment. The only way to make sure you’re getting the right treatment for conjunctivitis is to see an optometrist for a formal diagnosis.
Request an appointment with an optometrist.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is probably what most of us would consider pink eye. It is inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by a bacterial infection. This type of infection is highly contagious; you could catch it from another infected person, or it could even spread from a sinus infection or ear infection.
Symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis include:
Viruses are responsible for illnesses like the flu or strep throat. When the same viruses come into contact with the eyes, many of them cause viral conjunctivitis. Unlike bacterial conjunctivitis, viral strains do not respond to treatment; they simply have to run their course. However, viral conjunctivitis is still highly contagious, so appropriate steps should be taken to contain its spread.
Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include:
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when your body mistakes harmless stimuli like pet hair or pollen for harmful substances. Allergens trigger an immune response in an attempt to protect you.
Unlike other strains, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. It can be treated with oral or topical antihistamines.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include:
Some strains of conjunctivitis are relatively harmless. Still, bacterial conjunctivitis becomes a serious problem without proper treatment. If you self-diagnose incorrectly, it could be disastrous for your vision.
You must see your doctor to make sure you get an accurate diagnosis and pursue the right kind of treatment.
Brighton Eyecare is conveniently located in Brighton Marketplace just off McCormond Drive, between Save on Foods and The Keg.
We understand that life is busy, and it isn’t always convenient to take time out of your workday to visit your optometrist. To help serve you better, we offer Saturday appointments and have extended hours on Thursdays.