Mild Winter Brings Early Allergy Season And Eye Infections
The mild winter and early spring in Pittsburgh have been one for the record books. While this might sound like a welcome change for many, it’s also resulted in an early high allergy season and an uptick in cases of conjunctivitis, or pink eye.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including viruses, bacteria, allergens, and irritants.
Are you experiencing these symptoms?
- Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
- Itchy eyes
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Blurred vision
- Increased amount of tears
The three most common types of conjunctivitis are:
- Viral Conjunctivitis: is caused by a virus, typically the same virus that is a result of having a common cold. It’s highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include redness, itching, tearing, and discharge from the eyes. There is no specific treatment for viral conjunctivitis, but symptoms can be managed with artificial tears, cold compresses, and over-the-counter medications for pain relief.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis: is caused by bacteria and can be either acute or chronic. It’s also highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include redness, itching, tearing, and discharge from the eyes, often accompanied by crusting or stickiness. Unlike viral conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Did you know the bacteria that causes pink eye is the same bacteria that cause strep throat? Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are easily spread from person to person.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: is caused by an allergic reaction to an irritant, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander. It’s not contagious and typically affects both eyes. Symptoms include redness, itching, tearing, and swelling of the eyelids. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamines, decongestants, and topical corticosteroids.
In addition to these three main types of conjunctivitis, there are also other types that are less common but can still cause significant discomfort and irritation.
- Chemical Conjunctivitis: is caused by exposure to irritants such as smoke, fumes, or chemicals. Symptoms include redness, tearing, and a feeling of burning or stinging in the eyes.
- Neonatal Conjunctivitis: affects newborn babies and is typically caused by a bacterial infection acquired during delivery. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and discharge from the eyes. It can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment.
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: is a chronic condition that typically affects contact lens wearers or people with artificial eyes. It’s caused by the buildup of protein deposits on the surface of the eye and can result in redness, itching, tearing, and discomfort when wearing contact lenses.
If you are experiencing eye irritation symptoms, take steps to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, practice good hygiene, and avoid potential irritants. These actions can help minimize symptoms and promote healing.
Overall, conjunctivitis can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition to deal with, but it can be effectively managed with proper treatment and care. If you’re experiencing symptoms of conjunctivitis, it’s important to contact the doctors at Bissell Eye Care at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444 for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more Information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.