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Pink Eye Treatment

Pink Eye Treatment
What is pink eye?
Causes and Risk Factors

Pink eye treatment
Pink eye can be highly contagious for as long as two weeks after signs and symptoms begin.  This is why it's important to seek diagnosis and treatment early. Treatment for conjunctivitis will depend upon the diagnosis and cause of the eye infection.  However, treatment goals for conjunctivitis are the same no matter the cause and are threefold:

  1. To increase comfort.
  2. To reduce or lessen the course of the infection or inflammation.
  3. To prevent the spread of the infection in contagious forms of conjunctivitis.

In general, keep track of your symptoms, keep your hands clean, visit your doctor as needed, and follow your treatment instructions carefully. Within a week, your eyes should be feeling better.

1. Allergic conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis may respond to treatment for the underlying allergies. The first step to treating allergic conjunctivitis is to remove or avoid the irritant, if possible. Cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases.  Over the counter eye drops can help - antihistamine eye drops should help to alleviate the symptoms, and lubricating eye drops help to rinse the allergen off of the surface of the eye. If you have allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe anti-allergy medication in pill or eye drop form.  In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. Cases of persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid eye drops. 

2. Bacterial conjunctivitis
Bacterical conjunctivitis is usually treated with prescription antibiotic drops or ointment. Eye drops are used up to four times a day and the infection should clear within several days. With either form of medication, you should notice a marked improvement in signs and symptoms within one to two days.  It's very important to use the drops for as long as the doctor has prescribed even if it seems that conjunctivitis has cleared - the infection can come back if you stop antibiotic treatment too soon.

3. Chemical Conjunctivitis 
Treatment for chemical conjunctivitis requires careful flushing of the eyes with saline and may require topical steroids. The more acute chemical injuries are medical emergencies, particularly alkali burns, which can lead to severe scarring, intraocular damage or even loss of the eye.

4. Viral conjunctivitis
If a virus is causing conjunctivitis, antibiotic drops will not help. This is because viral conjunctivitis doesn't respond to treatment with antibiotic eyedrops or ointment. As with a common cold, you can use an over-the-counter remedy to relieve some symptoms, but the virus just has to run its course. You may notice a worsening of symptoms in the first three to five days. After that, your signs and symptoms should gradually clear on their own. It may take up to two to three weeks from the time you were infected for the virus to go away. The eye infection will get better as the body fights off the virus.

Home remedies
You can self-treat viral or bacterial conjunctivitis at home by applying warm compresses to your affected eye or eyes. Use a cool compress to treat allergic conjunctivitis.  To make a compress, soak a clean cloth in warm water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids.

Acetaminophen (paracetemol) or ibuprofen may help a person diagnosed with pinkeye feel more comfortable. You can also clean the edges of the infected eye carefully with warm water and gauze or cotton balls. This can also remove the crusts of dried discharge that may cause the eyelids to stick together first thing in the morning.

Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis.  It's very important that you avoid contact with the eye and wash your hands often while you are experiencing pink eye.  You'll also want to take some of the following actions.

  • Discard eye cosmetics, particularly mascara, that might carry bacterial or viral eye infections
  • Don't share eye cosmetics or personal eye-care products
  • Don't share towels or washcloths
  • Follow your eye doctor's instructions on proper contact lens care
  • Keep hands away from the eyes
  • Properly clean contact lenses
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Wipe your face with disposable tissues
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Tags: antihistamine eye drops, bacterial conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis, antibiotic treatment, anti-inflammatory, artificial tears, conjunctivitis, prescription, medications, artificial, infections, contagious, medication, antibiotic, Allergies, discharge, bacterial, diagnosis, alleviate, infection
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