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How Do You Get Pink Eye

Updated on December 8, 2011

How Do You Get Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as "Pink Eye" or "Pinkeye" can be caused by any number of ways. "Pinkeye" is a better name for it, as it is precisely descriptive - the parts of the eye that are normally white are now pink or red, as the blood vessels in the eye have become larger. This is because the outer layer of the eye and the inside of the eyelids - the conjunctiva - is in some way inflamed or infected. This can be due to any number of reasons, and we'll look at them here.

I'll also cover briefly what can be done in each case, and how to avoid getting conjunctivitis in the first place. In most cases (except the chemical - see below), conjuncitivitis will clear up by itself in less than a week. If your eyes aren't feeling better in 3 days, it is an extremely good idea to get them checked out by a specialist. They'll be able to tell you precisely what to do, and will be able to guide you much more accurately than any article can hope to.


Allergic Conjunctivitis

The most common kind of conjunctivitis is the result of an allergic reaction. Normally this occurs in combination with other symptoms of an allergy - a stuffy nose, or similar. The only thing to do in this case is simply to treat the symptoms, and wait for the allergy to pass. You can use artificial tears to alleviate the irritation somewhat, and you may require antihistamines if it is especially bad.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Another very common type of conjunctivis is viral - usually associated with flus, colds, and sinusitis, or, in general, infections of your upper respiratory tract. The eyes may become pink or red, but the blood vessels are less visible. It is usually the conjunctiva that is itself lightly pink. Usually there is only a watery discharge - normally tears.

As this is a viral infection, there are no particularily effective drugs in this case. It is a good idea to use artificial tears if the eyes are irritated. You can also use wet cold compresses, but be sure not to re-use these, or to let anybody else use them. It is also a good idea to avoid touching your eyes.

The symptoms will usually disappear when the related infection passes.

Expert Advice on Pink Eye

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterical conjunctivitis is different from the viral kind, as it is often associated with some kind of discharge - pus, or the formation of a crust around the eye. It could also be nothing - it could just feel like there's something in your eye when there isn't.

Like viral conjunctivitis, the bacterial kind will normally take care of itself in a week or so. There are, however, treatment options: antibiotics. I, personally, would stay away from them though - the negative aspects outweigh the benefits in this case - unless the conjunctivitis is particularily bad. At best, though, the antibiotics will reduce the length of the infection by one day.

Chemical Conjunctivitis

If you have been working around chemicals - even household cleaners - it is possible that you passed some of these into your eyes. If the cleaner was particularily strong, you will notice the effects immediately. Do not touch your eyes, as you may spread the chemical. Immediately seek medical assistance - this is a medical emergency and is not to be taken lightly.

Prevention of Conjunctivitis

The easiest way to prevent conjunctivitis is to avoid touching your eyes, especially with unwashed hands. Conjunctivitis will often affect one eye before the other - if you don't touch either eye (I know how hard it can be, with the irritation), you'll have a better chance of stopping its spread to both eyes.

I hope this article answered the question of how do you get pink eye, and I hope it was helpful to you. I would love to know if I missed anything, and would love to get any feedback, in the comments below.


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