Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is caused by a viral infection. It is not dangerous. However, if it is not promptly treated, bacterial infection can lead to vision damage.
The risk of contracting pink eye is highest in people who spend a lot of time in crowded environments. It is spread through direct contact with the eye secretions of infected people, such as tears and eye discharges. The most common way to contract the contagious form of pink eye is through hand-to-eye contact or direct contact with contaminated objects, such as handkerchiefs, towels, glasses and even flies.
Within 24-48 hours after contagion, the symptoms include irritation, pain, tearing, sensitivity to light, thick eye discharge, swollen eyelids, redness in the white of the eye (which may begin in one eye or both eyes at the same time), low grade fever, body aches, and pains in the arms and legs. Patients usually recover within 1-2 weeks if there are no complication from bacterial infections.
Pink Eye Treatments:
– Seek medical attention immediately when the above symptoms are observed. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent complications from bacterial infections.
– Rest your eyes as much as possible.
– Stop working for 1-2 weeks or until the symptoms disappear. Avoid crowded areas, such as cinemas and shopping centers because it may spread to other people.
– Avoid sharing personal belongings with other people.
– Wash your hands often, especially after touching your eyes.
– Wash your hands with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes with unwashed hands.
– Avoid rubbing your eyes when you get dust in your eyes. Wash your eyes with clean water.
– Avoid sharing objects like glasses, handkerchiefs, body towels, hand towels, or eye baths with other people, especially when pink eye is a known threat.
– Regularly wash clothes, towels, handkerchiefs, pillowcases, bed sheets, etc. and hang them out to dry in the sun.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine, ChiangMai University 1988.