Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) is the inflammation of the thin tissue covering the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis is the most common cause of red eye. The differential diagnosis for red eye is broad because many ophthalmic conditions masquerade as conjunctivitis. Other common causes include blepharitis, corneal abrasion, foreign body, subconjunctival hemorrhage, keratitis, iritis, glaucoma, chemical burn and scleritis.
Types: (Most frequent)
|Signs & Symptoms||
||Itching, redness and excessively tearing in both eyes usually||
Staphylococcus Aureus, Haemophilus Influenzae, Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Moraxella Catarrhalis
|Adenovirus,Rubella, Rubeola, Herpesviruses||
||Caused by contact with chemicals, fumes, smoke, or dust|
|Contagious Period – How it Spreads||Can spread from person to person, from hand-to-eye contact or via eye contact with contaminated objects. Bacteria can also spread by large respiratory tract droplets.||Highly contagious. While sign/symptoms are present. Adenovirus may be contagious for weeks||No contagious period||No contagious period|
How it is spread?
Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) are very contagious. They can spread easily from person to person. Hands become contaminated by direct contact with discharge from an infected eye, or by touching other surfaces that have been contaminated by respiratory tract secretions, and gets into the child’s eyes.
How do you control it?
The best method for preventing spread is good hand hygiene.
- Careful hand hygiene before and after touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Careful sanitation of objects that are commonly touched by hands or faces, such as tables, doorknobs, telephones, cots, cuddle blankets, and toys.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The cause of red eye can be diagnosed through a detailed patient history and careful eye examination, and treatment is based on the underlying etiology.
Consult a health professional for diagnosis and possible treatment. The role of antibiotics in preventing spread is unclear. Antibiotics shorten the course of illness a very small amount. Most children with pinkeye get better after 5 or 6 days without antibiotics.
Recognizing the need for emergent referral to an ophthalmologist is key in the primary care management of red eye. Referral is necessary when severe pain is not relieved with topical anesthetics; topical steroids are needed; or the patient has vision loss, copious purulent discharge, corneal involvement, traumatic eye injury, recent ocular surgery, distorted pupil, herpes infection, or recurrent infections.
Vaccines can prevent some infections associated with conjunctivitis. However, there is no vaccine that prevents all types of conjunctivitis. The vaccines which protect against some viral and bacterial diseases that are associated with conjunctivitis include:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)