What is Conjunctivitis?

The Conjunctiva is the transparent thin tissue that covers the inside of the eyelid and the white portion of the eye, known as the sclera. Tiny blood vessels nourish this lining, secreting mucous and oils that moisten and lubricate the eye. When infection occurs within the conjunctiva and the eyelids, patients may experience pain, redness, increased sensitivity to light, discharge, crusty deposits, blurred vision, and/or swelling. This is called conjunctivitis if it is limited to the tissue covering the eye, blepharitis if it limited to the eyelid margin, and blepharoconnjunctivitis if it involves the both the eyelid margin and conjunctiva. This condition is commonly referred to as pink eye, by lay people. It can easily be spread by touching your eyelid and then touching someone else’s hands or body. Sharing a washcloth or a towel with someone who has it can cause it to spread. One common way of contracting pink eye is by poor hand-washing. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, a virus, irritants in the environment, or allergies. Conjunctivitis is usually bacterial or viral. If diagnosed, you may need to discard eye products that could be carrying the infection. Eyelash curlers, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, facial brushes, contacts, or anything else that has rubbed against the eye may need to be thrown away.

Viral pinkeye can be caused by Adenovirus or even the herpes virus. Viral infections can become chronic. Antiviral medication or anti-inflamatant medications can be prescribed. In many cases the body will eventually clear the infection. Viral conjunctivitis is the much less common than Bacterial Conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is contracted when a bacteria enters the eye from a source such as a staph infection. The eyelid may droop more than normal. Bacterial infections last for one to two weeks, and antibiotics are prescribed. Often topical eyedrop antibiotics are prescribed: sometimes oral antibiotics are prescribed. Usually within 24 hours after the antibiotic treatment is started most patients get much better and resume normal activities.

Some conjunctivitis is caused by allergy. These types of conjunctivitis are often associated with itching and may occur in the Spring or Fall when allergens are most prevalent.

Posted in: Eye Conditions

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As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and its impact continues to evolve, we remain focused on the health and safety of our patients, employees and our fellow community members. One main goal throughout this crisis is to provide the safest environment for everyone.

In response to the state of emergency declared at the federal level and at the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Stuart P. Sondheimer, M.D., S.C, will be only seeing urgent and post-surgical patients, until further notice.

These are difficult times for us all. We will be monitoring the situation closely. Please take care of yourself and others.