Anyone is susceptible to conjunctivitis, particularly preschool and school-aged children, college students, teachers, and daycare workers. Pink eye always includes inflammation of the thin layer lining the inside of the eyelid, known as the conjunctiva, and covering the white part of the eye. The principal symptom of conjunctivitis is a pink appearance in the white part of the eye, which may or may not affects both eyes. Other symptoms, depending on the type of conjunctivitis, include light sensitivity, watery, itchy eyes, burning eyes, and sticky, yellow, or greenish-yellow discharge.
Pink eye can be caused by caused by bacteria, which can cause severe damage to the eye if not treated. It can also be the result of a virus including the common cold. Viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious but normally improves without medical treatment in a few days. Allergic conjunctivitis is a condition caused by seasonal eye irritants including dust, pollen, and pet dander. Conjunctivitis has many other causes, but in most cases it results from a reaction to an allergen or infection due to bacterium or a virus.
1. Never share a personal tissue, hand towel, or washcloth with anyone.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
3. Never share your colored or special effect contact lenses.
4. Wash your hands frequently.
5. Use a hand sanitizer handy frequently.
6. Clean faucet handles, bathroom vanities, shared phones, and countertops with an antiseptic cleaner.
7. Ask your doctor what can be done to minimize seasonal allergy symptoms before they start.
8. If you wear contacts, be sure to follow your eye doctor’s instructions for lens care cleaning and replacement.
9. Wear swim goggles to protect yourself from bacteria in the water that can cause conjunctivitis.
10. Remove your contact lenses before showering, swimming, or bathing to avoid trapping bacteria between the lenses and your eyes.