Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – Signs and Symptoms

Conjunctivitis is a condition characterized by a pink eye. It is the inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva that lines the eyelid and covers the eyeball’s white area. When the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, there become very visible. The inflammation of the conjunctiva is what makes the eye appear pink. Children have a high risk of contracting conjunctivitis, but it may not be a severe case of the infection. There’s a low probability of conjunctivitis causing damage to vision, especially when it’s treated early.

Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye

Since viral or bacterial conjunctivitis can be very contagious, some specific signs and symptoms should be noted. Besides, conjunctivitis can be passed to other individuals for up to two weeks [1] after it develops. When there’s an experience of conjunctivitis symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a licensed health professional. Here are the things that individuals should check;

Pink or red-toned eyes

The presence of red-eye is a common symptom of this medical condition. In humans, it usually appears like there is a substance in the eye that irritates. Please note that other things cause the eyes to be red. Red-eye can result from dry air, exposure to the sun, colds, allergic reactions, or dust. For this reason, it’s essential to consult a health professional before taking any steps.

Gritty feeling in the eyes

When there is a case of conjunctivitis, it may feel like sand inside the eyes. However, this is not the case. Aside from conjunctivitis, other conditions can cause the eyes to feel gritty. Some of the other conditions that can cause gritty eyes are dry eye syndrome [2], allergies, and thyroid disease. Other causes like dry eye vary in severity, but they make the individual feel very uncomfortable. Hence, if there is a feeling of gritty eyes, it’s crucial to consult a licensed health professional.

Itchy eyes

In most cases, itching the eyes may not be due to any serious medical condition. However, it’s best to consult the doctor to know more about the eye’s itchiness. Some things, like dust, pet dander, or powder, can cause the eye to itch. When the eye feels itchy, it could also be caused by seasonal allergies. In other words, the eyes get itchy around the same time annually.

Aside from seasonal allergies, conjunctivitis may arise due to airborne irritants. However, this majorly applies to people sensitive to diesel exhaust, smoke, or specific perfumes. It’s best not to ignore this feeling, especially when accompanied by a gritty feeling in the eyes.

Watery or thick eye discharge

Most times, a case of watery or thick eye discharge [3] is associated with a medical condition. Besides, watery or thick eye discharge also feels sticky in most cases. Individuals that use poorly cleaned contact lenses may experience a thick eye discharge. It may also be due to some other conditions like dry eye syndrome, styes, eye ulcers, and eyelids’ inflammation. Hence, if there is a feeling of sticky eyes, it’s crucial to immediately consult the doctor.

An abnormal amount of tears

Aside from being a symptom of conjunctivitis, an abnormal amount of tears or white eye discharge could also be a sign of eye irritation. Sometimes, it comes up after resting for a while. Individuals with this condition may discover that they have problems keeping the eyes open for a long time without tearing. Dry eye syndrome is a major cause of excessive tearing. It occurs when the lubricating tears dry out at a fast rate. It’s crucial to consult a doctor with immediate effect if this symptom is felt.

Swelling of the conjunctiva

Individuals with conjunctivitis may experience a form of swelling of the conjunctiva. Please note that the conjunctiva is the tissue that lines the eyelids, and it is meant to provide lubrication and protection to the eye by producing tears and mucus. When the conjunctiva is swollen, it is called Chemosis. It is a major sign of conjunctivitis, and the eyes may appear like a big blister with fluids inside it. People who notice this symptom may speak to a physician for medical support.

Contact lenses not staying in place

When an individual notices that the contact lenses are not in the appropriate position, it may signify conjunctivitis. People with astigmatism may notice this condition often. Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea is shaped irregularly.

This condition thereby causes the contact lens to move around the eye instead of staying in position. However, the contact lenses that correct astigmatism will remain in a position. Please note that it is inadvisable to wear contact lenses when experiencing any other conjunctivitis symptoms because it may cause significant damage to the cornea.

Aside from conjunctivitis, contact lenses may not stay in position for various reasons. For this reason, it’s important to consult a licensed doctor to understand the next steps to treatment.

Slight blurring of vision

An individual may be experiencing a symptom of conjunctivitis when they notice a slight blurring of vision. In both children and adults, conjunctivitis can cause significant inflammation in the cornea that can affect the human eye.

It’s crucial to note that blurred vision signifies a lack of sharpness of vision that results in the inability to see pure detail. Aside from conjunctivitis, blurred vision can result from several eye conditions [4]. Examples of some of the medical conditions linked to blurred vision are farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia.

Generally, there is no specific number of symptoms that should be noted before consulting the doctor. Hence, once an individual feels the need to see a licensed health professional after feeling a certain way, there should be no hesitation. Most of the symptoms of conjunctivitis are also signs of other medical conditions. For this reason, it’s crucial to follow the doctor’s guidelines.