Characteristics of conjunctivitis

What is conjunctivitis?

Red eyes
having red eyes is the main symptom of conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis or ” pink eye” is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the lining covering the inner eyelids and the whites of the eyes.

Types of conjunctivis

We have the following types of conjunctivitis:

  • Infectious conjunctivitis: Is the one that is caused by infection of viruses or bacteria. (They are usually the same ones that produce other respiratory or sexual infections.
  • Irritable conjunctivitis: It is produced by substances that cause allergy (pollen from plants, mites, animal hair, etc.) or irritation in the eyes (smoke, dust, etc.)
  • Conjunctivitis of the newborn: It is a type of conjunctivitis quite usual in newborn babies. It is usually produced by contagion with the mother who presents in her body viruses or bacteria that cause conjunctivitis in the baby’s eyes.
  • Stenosis of the tear duct: It can also be caused by plugging of the duct that drains tears from the eyes, which is known as stenosis of the tear duct

Symptoms of conjunctivitis

The main symptoms of conjunctivitis are:

Causes of conjunctivitis

Cleaning products
Cleaning products are sometimes responsible for conjunctivitis
  • Diseases: Conjunctivitis may be the manifestation of physical diseases, especially of allergic nature (Allergic conjunctivitis). Sometimes it responds to microbial infections, either bacteria (bacterial conjunctivitis) or viruses (Viral conjunctivitis) In the latter group, we will find most of the conjunctivitis resulting from cold, influenza, sore throat or other respiratory diseases.
    Excessive fat, such as in seborrheic dermatitis, can reach the eyes when, after touching the forehead, we put our fingers on them.
  • Emotional disorders: Nervous or emotional problems like depression, stress, etc. manifest themselves as an irritation of the conjunctiva
  • Chemical aggressions: When some chemical products, such as lye or caustic soda, touch the eyes they usually irritate the conjunctiva, leading to very painful chemical conjunctivitis. This type of accidents are responsible for eye scarring and can damage one’s eyes internally.

Factors that can predispose to the appearance of conjunctivitis

Essential fatty acids sources
Essential fatty acids sources

Some factors can predispose to the appearance of conjunctivitis. The most important ones are:

  • Bad habits: The habit of rubbing one’s eyes is the main reason for microorganisms to enter into the eyes.
    Sometimes, the eyes suffer the results of negative habits of conduct, such as excessive reading in low light, activities that require excessive concentration in the same spot and the same distance (computer working, watching television, etc);
    Work performed under artificial light, without sunlight, can occasionally redden the eyes.
  • Poor eyes hygiene: A poor hygiene of the eyes with irritants such as detergents, soaps or cleaning products can cause eye irritation.
  • Environmental situations: Working in an environment loaded with smoke, dust or other pollutants can cause conjunctivitis. Similar effects can occurs when working in a place with high luminic contrast.
  • Unsuitable diet: A poor diet can lead to poor eye health. Essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6), vitamin A and vitamin C are necessary to mantain eye health.
  • Free radicals: A poor diet, aggressive environmental conditions and the oxidation of the body itself are the causes for the appearance of free radicals. Vision is one of the most sensitive senses and the most affected by oxidation.

Is conjunctivitis contagious?

It depends on the type of conjunctivitis that is treated:

  • Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or viruses (infectious conjunctivitis) is contagious.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis  because of irritating substances is not contagious,

How is infectious conjunctivitis transmitted?

This type of conjunctivitis can be transmitted by contact of the hands with the eyes after touching the eyes of a sick person or objects that are contaminated. Infectious conjunctivitis can also be transmitted through coughing, sneezing or swimming in the pool if the water is contaminated,

It can also happen that the conjunctivitis of one eye is produced in the other by contact with the fingers after the affected person has scrubbed the diseased eye.

This type of infections are very common among schoolchildren since some students who have conjunctivitis can easily touch the eyes of others who are healthy. For this reason, the presence of conjunctivitis in a boy or a girl is a reason for leaving school.

Diagnosis of conjunctivitis

The diagnosis of conjunctivitis is based on a physical examination by the doctor. It is the doctor who should discern conjunctivitis from other possible diseases of the eyes.

The doctor should be consulted especially:

  • If the eyes swell and become redder
  • If there is sensitivity to light or discomfort to the touch in the eyes or on the eyelids together with fever.
  • You will also go to the doctor when the conjunctivitis does not go away after a couple of days in treatment

Treatment of conjunctivitis

The conjunctivitis of infectious type usually heals by itself. Conventional treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the type of cause that produces it. Sometimes antibiotics are needed in the form of drops or internal medicines to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.

For allergic conjunctivitis, antihistamine medications are often used together with drops to reduce inflammation and clean the eyes. Chemical conjunctivitis could require applying saline solution. Artificial tears could be very valuable for the treatment of viral and allergic conjunctivitis.

The natural treatment of conjunctivitis involves using a series of plant resources that will prevent or cure it.

punto rojo More information about conjunctivitis and its natural treatment.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

30 May, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.