Did you know kids miss over 3 million school days a year as a result of pink eye? Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyes. When the small blood vessels become inflamed, they are more visible, resulting in the reddish or pink tone you see in the eyes.
Pink eye is highly contagious and can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, an allergic reaction, or coming into contact with an irritant like smoke or dust. Because it can be contagious, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to limit its spread.
The most common symptoms include:
â— Redness or swelling
â— Itching, irritation, or burning
â— Grittiness or excessive tearing
â— Crusting of the eyelids or lashes
â— Intense eye redness
â— Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
When to See a Doctor
Pink eye is no joke and can quickly spread if not taken care of properly. If you or your kids are experiencing any of the symptoms above, see a doctor immediately. If you have a weak immune system or a pre-existing eye condition, it can cause these to worsen.
Prevention and Protection
To help prevent and further protect yourself from conjunctivitis, take the following steps:
â— Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If you come into contact with pink eye, wash your hands exceptionally well and help your children do the same.
â— Infection can enter the body through the nose and mouth. Avoid sharing personal items such as makeup, towels, eye drops, contact lenses, and so on.
â— Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This could worsen the condition and in some cases, help it spread to the other eye.
â— Always clean, store, and replace your contact lenses as instructed by your eye doctor.
â— If your child has pink eye, keep him/her out of school and extracurricular activities until the redness is completely gone. This can help prevent your child from spreading it to the entire class.
Contact Lenses and Pink Eye
If you wear contact lenses and are diagnosed with conjunctivitis, you should take the following steps:
â— Remove contact lenses and wear your glasses until the condition is resolved.
â— Throw away the disposable lenses you were wearing when you were diagnosed with pink eye.
â— If you do not have disposable lenses, disinfect them before you wear them again.
Thoroughly clean your lens case, and you may want to consider replacing it.