I am a walking disease trap. No, I'm serious. OK, I'm not as serious as
be... but hey, I feel like I am! For about 1.5 weeks I've been having an
on-again-off-again battle with the dreaded "pink eye."
Yes, pink eye. Just the utterance of this phrase can cause even the most
stout-hearted of teenage socialites to quail. It can cause even the most
mature of children to rejoice. It can cause even the most uncaring of
adults to groan. So what exactly is pink eye?
My doctor explained to me that the correct term for "Pink Eye" is
conjunctivitis. Well, if that alone isn't enough to spark the interest of a
science nerd like myself, I don't know what is! So, I decided to do a little
research while I'm once again stuck at home.
The conjunctiva is the thin, clear, membrane, which covers the white portion of
the eye; and in addition, lines the eyelids. Now, for those of you that don't
automatically know because you were never forced to learn the Greek roots, -itis
means "inflammation." So tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils;
appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix; and therefore, conjunctivitis
is the inflammation of the conjunctiva.
The most common symptoms of pink eye are, of course, a red or pinkish tent to
the normally white sections of your eye(s). Also, there is normally some itching
and discharge -- there are, however, many more symptoms, so you should see your
doctor if you suspect you have pink eye. Both eyes do not necessarily have to
be infected. In fact, you may get it in only one eye. But be careful, as it may
commute to the other eye!
According to my research, there are three types of conjunctivitis with a few
* Infectious (Viral, Bacterial)
* Chemical (Giant papillary, among others)
* Infectious conjunctivitis is just what it sounds like: an inflammation of the
conjunctiva caused by an infectious virus or bacteria. Viral and bacterial
infectious conjunctivitis have differing symptoms and treatments, so seek help
from your licensed healthcare provider.
* Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergens such as pollen, dust, cosmetics,
animals, fabrics, et cetera.
* Chemical conjunctivitis is caused by irritants such as pollution, fumes,
chemicals, and more. Giant papillary conjunctivitis is usually caused by contact
lenses. The description of GPC is much rougher than the descriptions of the
others, which are normally just your basic pink eye scenarios.
You will need to see your doctor on the issue how long you should stay out of
school or work. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands whenever you touch
your face. Don't share things while you have this disease. And do not use the
same eye drops provided for another case of pink eye!!! Different forms of
conjunctivitis require different medications. Some forms cannot be helped
through medication. So always, always, see your doctor first!
For more complete information, check out these articles at: