How do you get conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis (more commonly referred to as pink eye) occurs when the thin, clear overcoat of the white area of the eye and inside the eyelids (conjunctiva) become inflamed.
Early signs of conjunctivitis include itchy and irritated eyes, and the eyes slowly turning from a light veiny pink, to a more angry red with more pronounced veins. Although it may look a little scary, generally speaking, conjunctivitis is not painful. It is the appearance of redness that tends to distress most people and cause embarrassment, but it can be cleared very quickly if treated immediately and the right precautions are taken. In most cases, conjunctivitis is either caused by an allergy, bacteria or virus.
What to do if you get conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is easily treated and in the majority of cases will not develop into anything more severe. The most common treatment for conjunctivitis are medicated eye drops. Minor conjunctivitis can sometimes clear by itself.
How to get rid of conjunctivitis fast
Conjunctivitis will usually clear up in a few short days, but there a few things you can do to help accelerate the process of healing.
- Clean the eye area 2-3 times a day. Using warm water and a clean cotton bud, softly wipe the eye area of mucus. Make sure to wash your hands before doing so to ensure they are not transferring any dirt or bacteria onto the eye area.
- You can ask your optician, pharmacists or GP for medicated eye drops. Chloramphenicol and fusidic acid are the two main types of antibiotics that may be prescribed. In more severe cases a heavier antibiotic may be prescribed to you.
- Do not wear contact lenses until the condition has fully cleared. Your eyes need as much fresh oxygen and moisture during the healing process, so it is highly advised that you do not wear contact lenses while your conjunctivitis is clearing up. It is better to wear prescription glasses during this time.
- Avoid rubbing the eye area when your eye is infected and touching your eye as this can transfer bacteria. Also keep long hair tied up and away from your face.
- Avoid wearing makeup, particularly around the eye area. Oils, fragrances, and other chemicals in cosmetics may aggravate the eye further. Also avoid using soaps and facial washes that are heavy in artificial ingredients during this time. Opt for natural, fragrance free and preservative free products that will not aggravate the eye area.
- Always use a clean, fresh towel when drying your face and pat the eye area dry as opposed to rubbing it.
Anytime you experience a change in the appearance of your eye, you should visit your optician or GP immediately.
To learn more about conjunctivitis and how to prevent it altogether, please check our main Eye Care Hub page about conjunctivitis here.
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