A comprehensive list of today's common ailments and health conditions.
By Angela Young
Pinkeye, also referred to as conjunctivitis, is an infection or irritation of the mucous membrane that lines the surface of the eye at the eyelid. It is usually caused by a virus or bacteria and is easily spread. Pinkeye should heal on its own within 7 to 10 days without medical treatment, but in some cases antiviral medication or antibiotics are recommended.
Symptoms of pinkeye can usually be determined fairly easily. The eye's reaction to the bacteria or virus generally causes one or many of the following symptoms:
Pinkeye is highly contagious and is most commonly caused by a virus or bacteria. There are, however, other factors that may contribute. These include allergies, exposure to toxins such as chemicals, fumes or smoke, or circumstances that lead to dry eyes. A condition called red eye may lead to pinkeye as one of its symptoms. Red eye can occur when a foreign body is lodged in the eye, due to eye injury or secondary to glaucoma. Since pinkeye is so easily spread, often there are actions that can be taken to prevent this. If you or someone you know has pinkeye, the following actions are recommended:
A diagnosis of pinkeye is fairly easy since symptoms are usually apparent. More important, however, would be a diagnosis of any underlying conditions that may be causing pinkeye to occur. Chronic or frequent bouts of pinkeye may require attention. Rarely, this condition can be caused by the herpes virus, so persistent cases of pinkeye should be further examined.
You have many options for treating pinkeye and the most preferable should be determined by other symptoms. Usually no treatment is required, but prevention of spread to others is imperative. You may want to seek treatment if the infection is persistent or if other factors are present or suspected. The following primary or secondary conditions leading to pinkeye should be examined by a medical professional:
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