Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva which is the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. Often called “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is a common eye disease, especially in children.
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Some forms of pink eye are highly contagious and can easily spread in schools and at home. The condition can affect one or both eyes.
People with conjunctivitis may experience the following symptoms:
- A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
- Itching or burning sensation in one or both eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Discharge from one or both eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Pink discoloration to the whites of one or both eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
The most common causes of pink eye are:
- Contact lens wear (especially wearing lenses overnight)
If you are diagnosed with pink eye, it is important that you do not wear contacts again until your eye is white and there is no discharge. Wearing contacts with pink eye can slow down the treatment process and increase the risk of the condition spreading. If you wear contacts and are diagnosed with either viral or bacterial conjunctivitis, you should throw away the disposable lenses that you were wearing and the lens case. Contact lenses that are not disposable should be properly disinfected overnight.
If you are taking antibiotics to treat your pink eye, you should wait 24 hours after the antibiotics have been stopped before wearing contact lenses again.
If you developed conjunctivitis due to wearing contact lenses, your eye doctor in Medford may recommend that you switch to a different type of contact lens or cleaning solution. Changing your contact lens prescription to a lens that is replaced more frequently may help prevent the conjunctivitis from recurring.