Conjunctivitis is a highly contagious inflammation that affects the thin, clear covering of the sclera or white portion of your eye and your eyelids. Some types of conjunctivitis are caused by contact with irritants like smoke or chlorinated water. Other types are caused by bacterial or viral infections. These infections (sometimes called pink eye) are highly contagious and can be easily spread from one person to another. In addition to a pink coloration in the sclera and the lids, conjunctivitis can also cause symptoms like:
If your eye doctor thinks you have pink eye, he or she will use a cotton swab to remove a little fluid from the edge of your eye for evaluation in a lab. The evaluation helps determine the cause of the inflammation so it can be treated appropriately.
Iritis (or anterior uveitis) is an inflammation of the colored portion of your eye called the iris. The most common causes are trauma, certain underlying infections, or diseases like psoriasis or inflammatory bowel diseases. If you have iritis, you may have symptoms like:
Without proper treatment, iritis can cause permanent vision loss.
Eye allergies typically cause symptoms like:
Eye allergies can be caused by smoke, pet dander, molds and spores, chemical irritants, and other airborne allergens. Because the symptoms of eye allergies are similar to those of infections like conjunctivitis, you should always be evaluated by an eye doctor to ensure you receive appropriate treatment.
Eye disease treatment can vary based on the type of disease and its cause. Most eye disease treatment involves the use of eye drops to control infection and eradicate harmful germs. Eye allergies can also be treated with drops to reduce irritation. Some diseases may also require oral medications. It’s also vitally important to have follow-up exams as directed by your doctor to ensure your treatment is effective and to prevent serious complications from occurring. If you have an eye infection, you should also get rid of your eye makeup to avoid reinfecting the eye.
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