The conjunctiva refers to the thin membrane covering your eyes’ front surface and the eyelids’ inner parts. Their primary function is to protect these sensory organs against dust, debris and small organisms that may cause infection. When these parts get inflamed, however, you may develop conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. This eye condition comes in two forms: bacterial and viral.
Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, your local eye care provider, discusses the main differences between the two.
It is the most common type of conjunctivitis resulting from bacteria infecting one or both your eyes through various contamination sources. You can get this type of pink eye through either contact with an infected person or exposure to a contaminated surface.
It is characterized by a thick discharge or pus in the eyes. When this becomes evident, it is important you visit an optometrist to obtain prescription medication to treat the condition. Topical antibiotic eye drops and eye ointments may be prescribed to you. Depending on the severity of infection, treatment could take a week or two.
This type of pink eye, meanwhile, manifests as a result of airborne viruses spread through sneezing and coughing. It may also accompany upper respiratory infections that are viral in nature, including the common cold and flu.
Viral pink eye is characterized by watery eyes, itchiness and sensitivity to light. However, it is not like bacterial conjunctivitis that can be treated with antibiotics. This type of pink eye is self-limiting, which means it will go away on its own without the need for treatment. Supportive therapies, however, can help reduce symptoms.
Turn to Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry today to find out if you have symptoms of conjunctivitis and obtain the right treatment options for your situation.
Give us a call at (703) 660-9494 if you are in Alexandria, (703) 413-1400 if you are in Arlington, (703) 573-1200 if you are in Falls Church or (703) 467-9080 if you are in Reston. You may also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.