Pink Eye: A Troublesome Eye Condition
Pink eye, medically known as Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), is a bothersome eye condition that demands prompt attention to alleviate its discomfort. If you're experiencing symptoms of pink eye, seek optometry care at Oasis Eyecare in Edmonton. Here, we'll provide valuable insights into this ailment, helping you recognize its signs, understand prevention measures, and explore how our optometrist can assist if you find yourself affected.
Understanding Pink Eye (Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis-EKC)
Pink eye results from the inflammation of the conjunctiva and, at times, the cornea due to viral infection, most commonly caused by adenovirus. It's an acute eye infection characterized by extreme contagiousness and can persist for up to a month.
How is Pink Eye Transmitted?
Pink eye thrives in environments with close human interaction, such as schools, hospitals, and office settings. Transmission can occur indirectly through contact with contaminated items carrying eye secretions or even through aerosols. However, direct contact with infected eye secretions, like tears, remains the primary mode of transmission.
Recognizing Pink Eye Symptoms
People with pink eye typically experience a sudden onset of symptoms, including eye redness, irritation, soreness, sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing. Some describe it as feeling like a foreign object or piece of sand in the eye. This irritation may lead to punctate keratitis, causing blurred vision due to irregularities on the cornea's surface. Both the eye and eyelid can become swollen. Typically, the viral infection initially affects one eye before spreading to the other. After the infection subsides, sub-epithelial infiltrates may form—gray to white cloudy spots in the cornea resulting from an immune response to the virus. These infiltrates can cause significantly blurred vision for several days.
Prompt treatment is essential to alleviate pink eye's discomfort and reduce its duration. At Oasis Eyecare in Edmonton, we're here to provide you with the care and guidance you need to overcome this irritating eye condition. Schedule an appointment with our optometrist today to find relief from pink eye and ensure the health of your eyes.
Duration of Infectiousness
Individuals with this infection can transmit the virus to others for up to 14 days after the onset of infection in the second eye.
Yes, it is advisable to refrain from attending work, especially in settings involving close interaction with others, such as healthcare, daycare, personal services, and emergency services. People with this type of eye infection should remain off work until 14 days after the onset of infection in the second eye.
Since pink eye is caused by a viral infection, antibiotics are ineffective against it. Treatment primarily aims to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. In mild cases, doctors may recommend cold compresses, artificial tears, and vasoconstrictors. In more severe cases, steroid eye drops are prescribed and are gradually tapered over 2 to 4 weeks or even longer.
Preventing Transmission to Family and Friends
To prevent the transmission of the virus to family and friends, follow these guidelines:
- Practice proper hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds after touching yourself and before touching others. Use a tissue or paper towel to turn off sink taps to avoid recontamination.
- If handwashing facilities are not readily available, frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing over 60% alcohol) can effectively prevent the spread of the virus.
- Individuals with pink eye and their household members should avoid touching their face and eyes.
- Do not share eye makeup or eye drops.
- Avoid sharing towels, facecloths, pillows, glasses, goggles, or any items that may come into direct contact with another person's eyes.
- Regularly clean household surfaces, such as doorknobs and telephones, as the virus can survive on these surfaces.
Adhering to these preventive measures is crucial in containing the spread of pink eye and safeguarding the health of your loved ones and contacts.