Pink eye is a common eye infection. It is often accompanied by discomfort, redness, and, sometimes, discharge. This condition occurs when the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines your eyelid, becomes inflamed and infected, causing the white of your eye to turn a pink/red color.
Pink eye can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days without treatment. This eye infection affects all ages but is especially common in children. If an infant suffers an eye infection, the whites of the eyes become reddish or pink, often caused by irritation or blocked tear ducts. Pink eye in babies usually occurs after another illness like a common cold or throat infection. It sometimes heals on its own but can require treatment if it continues for more than a few days.
If your child is diagnosed with pink eye, it can be challenging to get rid of it. Eye infections are highly contagious and very common in kids. Pink eye brings a lot of eye discomfort and itching, which often results in rubbing and touching the area. Therefore, the most effective way to avoid pink eye is to maintain proper hand hygiene.
Eye infections can be either viral or bacterial. Medication can significantly shorten the duration of eye infections. Most treatments begin working within twenty-four hours. In addition, there are various home remedies available that help to treat eye infections effectively. Read on to learn more about the causes and management of this common health problem.
Pathophysiology and Risk Factors
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the delicate mucous membrane of the eye. This inflammation results from infection, either viral, bacterial, and allergic reaction, or other sources of irritation. This leads to the defining characteristic of this disease, the "pink" eye. The whites of the affected eye(s) become reddish or pink due to swelling of the small blood vessels just under the eye surface.
Several key risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing pink eye:
- Exposure to an infected individual
- Wearing contacts for an extended period
- Allergies that cause you to touch your eyes
- Poor hand hygiene
- Eye injury
- Eye makeup use, especially use of old makeup