The conjunctiva is a clear tissue that covers the front part of the eye, specifically the white of the eye (sclera) and the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva is a mucous membrane that aids in tear production and is part of the ocular immune system.
A conjunctivitis is when the conjunctiva becomes red and inflamed due to various reasons. Common causes of a conjunctivitis are infections, whether it be bacterial or viral in origin, allergic reactions, foreign matter in the eye or extreme dry eyes. If a conjunctivitis is caused by an infection the terminology "pink eye" is often used. An infectious conjunctivitis can be contagious and early diagnosis and treatment is key to help limit the spread.
Symptoms of a Conjunctivitis
- Redness in one or both eyes
- Gritty or sandy feeling (foreign body sensation)
- Excessive tearing
- Discharge coming from the eye
- Crust on the eyelashes when waking in the morning (this could cause difficulty opening the eyes in the AM)
- Blurred vision
- Discomfort or eye pain
Preventing the Spread of a Conjunctivitis Caused by an Infection
Pink eye is considered a common cold in the eye. Practicing good hygiene will help prevent the spread of pink eye. Common practices should be to always wash your hands and to not touch your eyes with your hands.
When to Contact the Eye Doctor?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to contact us for an in office evaluation to determine the cause of your red, inflamed eye.