Types of Conjunctivitis – What Is the Difference?

Last updated on November 1st, 2017 at 08:00 am

All kinds of conjunctivitis– including bacterial, viral, allergic and other types– include inflammation of the transparent, mucous membrane (conjunctiva) covering the white part of the eye or sclera.

Infectious causes of a swollen eye and conjunctivitis include bacteria, infections and fungis. Non-infectious causes include allergic reactions, foreign bodies and chemicals.

The expression “pink eye” is frequently used to refer to conjunctivitis, due to the fact that pinkness or soreness of the conjunctiva is one of the most obvious symptoms.

Types Of Conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is a typical type of pink eye, caused by bacteria that contaminate the eye through different sources of contamination. The bacteria can be spread out through contact with an infected person, direct exposure to infected surface areas or through other means such as sinus or ear infections.

The most typical types of bacteria that cause bacterial conjunctivitis include Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Bacterial conjunctivitis usually produces a thick eye discharge or pus and can affect one or both eyes.

As with any bacterial infection, antibiotics are required to get rid of the bacteria. Treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis is typically accomplished with topical antibiotic eye drops and/or eye lotions. The treatment generally draws from one to two weeks, depending upon the intensity of the infection.

Viral conjunctivitis is another typical type of pink eye that is extremely contagious, because airborne infections can be spread out through sneezing and coughing. Viral conjunctivitis also can accompany typical viral upper breathing infections such as measles, the influenza or the acute rhinitis.

Viral conjunctivitis normally produces a watery discharge. Generally the infection begins in one eye and quickly spreads to the other eye.

Unlike with bacterial infections, antibiotics will not work versus infections. No eye drops or ointments work versus the typical viruses that cause viral conjunctivitis. However viral conjunctivitis is self-limited, which means it will disappear by itself after a brief time.

Typically with viral conjunctivitis, the 3rd through the 5th days are the worst. After that, eyes start to improve on their own.

Treatment of viral conjunctivitis typically includes helpful therapies, such as eye drops, that help in reducing the symptoms: for instance, vasoconstrictors to whiten the eye, decongestants to reduce the surface swelling and antihistamines to reduce periodic itching. Treatments generally are continued for one to two weeks, depending upon the severity of the infection.

Types of Conjunctivitis

About 3 to 6 million individuals get conjunctivitis each year in the United States. In adults viral causes are more typical, while in children bacterial causes are more common.Typically individuals get better in one or two weeks. If there is visual loss, considerable pain, sensitivity to light, signs of herpes, or a person is not improving after a week, additional diagnosis and treatment may be needed. Conjunctivitis in a newborn, called neonatal conjunctivitis, might likewise require particular treatment.

Gonococcal and chlamydial conjunctivitis are bacterial forms related to infections from sexually transmitted illness consisting of gonorrhea and chlamydia. Newborns might be exposed when they pass through the birth canal of an infected mom. Trachoma is a type of chlamydial infection that causes scarring on the eye’s surface. Trachoma is the world’s leading reason for preventable blindness.

Neonatal conjunctivitis discovered in newborn babies can cause blindness when left without treatment. As much as 10 percent of all pregnant women in the United States have actually a sexually transmitted chlamydial infection. If these infections are without treatment in mothers, the possibility that a newborn baby will establish an associated eye infection ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent.

Another kind of sexually transmitted disease related to the herpes simplex infection type 2 found in the genital area can infect eyes of babies as they are born. Herpes simplex virus type 1, a reason for cold sores on the mouth, also can cause a type of eye herpes that results in pink eye.

If you are pregnant and suspect you may have a sexually transferred disease, you have to be examined and possibly treated for any infection before the birth of your baby.

In the United States, an antibiotic ointment often is applied as a fundamental requirement of care for newborn infants, to help prevent the possibility of certain eye infections.

Allergic conjunctivitis brought on by eye allergies is very common. Eye allergies, like other types, can be set off by irritants including pollen, animal dander and allergen.

The most common symptom of allergic conjunctivitis is itchy eyes, which might be eased with unique eye drops consisting of antihistamines to manage allergies. These eye drops are offered both over the counter and by prescription.

Preventing the irritant is also important in the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis can be seasonal or seasonal (year-round), depending on the allergen causing the reaction.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) normally involves both eyes and frequently impacts soft contact lens wearers. This condition may cause contact lens intolerance, itching, a heavy discharge, tearing and red bumps on the underside of the eyelids.

You’ll need to stop using your contact lenses, at least for a little while. Your optometrist may likewise recommend that you switch to a various kind of contact lens, to lower the possibility of the conjunctivitis returning.

For instance, you might have to switch from soft contacts to gas permeable ones or vice versa. Or you may need to try a type of lens that you replace more regularly, such as non reusable contact lenses. GPC can likewise result from synthetic eyes (prosthetics), stitches and more. Your eye doctor will choose if removal is appropriate.

Non-infectious conjunctivitis from eye irritation triggering pink eye symptoms that can arise from numerous sources, consisting of smoke, diesel exhaust, perfumes and particular chemicals. Some forms of conjunctivitis likewise arise from sensitivity to specific ingested compounds, consisting of herbs such as eyebright and turmeric.

Certain forms of pink eye, including giant papillary conjunctivitis, can be triggered by the eye’s immune reactions, such as a reaction to wearing contact lenses or ocular prosthetics (artificial eyes). A reaction to preservatives in eye drops or lotions also can cause toxic conjunctivitis.

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