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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): Symptoms, Causes and Types

Conjunctivitis is an eye disease caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is a mucous and transparent layer that lines the eyeball and helps to lubricate and protect the eye. The clinic will depend on the type of pink eye. However, there are common physical signs, which are mentioned below:

Conjunctivitis symptoms

  • Red eye. This It is usually due to vasodilatation of the vessels of the conjunctiva due to inflammation (it is called hyperemia). It can also be due to edema caused by infectious or allergic agents.
  • Secrecy of different types:
    • Aqueous: abundant lacrimation associated with whitish secretion.
    • Mucous: whitish threads.
    • Purulent: yellow-green secretion.
    • Mucopurulent: also associates sticky eyelids.
  • Papillae and follicles. Prominent structures in the tarsal conjunctiva (the one that covers the inner layer of the eyelids) with a rounded shape and a vascular framework around it.

Sometimes, there may be fibrin exudates between the tarsal and bulbar conjunctiva (the one that covers the eye), which form:

  • Membranes, (if removing the underlying surface is bleeding).
  • Pseudomembranes (if the underlying surface is intact).

These are very characteristic of conjunctivitis diphtheria, although they also appear in other paintings.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

This type of pink eye is usually self-limiting and affect both eyes. It is characterized by an intense hyperemia and a purulent discharge that does not allow the eyelids to detach, which are also edematized. They usually associate strange body sensation and itching.

There is a variety of pink eye characteristic of newborns called: purulent conjunctivitis or hyperacute. This is produced by bacteria from Neisseria gender, which present with a very marked hyperemia and a purulent yellow-green secretion characteristic, as well as adenopathies in the preauricular region. The chemosis or conjunctival edema is very frequent and can evolve to a corneal ulcer.

Follicular conjunctivitis produced by Chlamydia Trachomatis It is a picture that affects young adults, by sexual contagion, and newborns. It is important because, in addition to affecting the cornea and presenting large follicles, its chronification produces trachoma, a picture of blindness due to corneal opacification.

Trachoma is the main infectious disease-causing blindness worldwide. It is caused by an obligate intracellular microorganism called Chlamydia trachomatis.

The disease is transmitted by contact with ocular and nasal secretions of infected people, especially young children who are reservoir of eye infection. The treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis consists of the application of antibiotic eye drops and frequent eye washings.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is unilateral onset, although it can be easily spread to the other eye. It emphasizes ocular redness, giving a glassy appearance, and an abundant serous secretion. These usually have a self-limited course and there may be follicles or conjunctival edema (also called chemosis). If it affects the cornea, it will cause blurred vision. The symptom they usually last 1 or 2 weeks and then remit spontaneously.

There is a type of conjunctivitis with involvement of the cornea produced by adenovirus. It is called: epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. This begins with follicular conjunctivitis that is accompanied by keratitis 7 days after onset. Pseudomembranes can form and associate general malaise. His course is self-limited.

The treatment of viral conjunctivitis is symptomatic, with tears artificial and frequent ocular washes. The treatment includes a series of preventive measures to avoid contagion to the other eye. Do not cover the eye because it would hide a bacterial superinfection, if any. For this purpose, prophylactic antibiotic eye drops can be prescribed if there is a high probability of superinfection.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis produced by a reaction of hypersensitivity to airborne allergens. They affect both eyes, and are usually seasonal. They are characterized by itching or ocular pruritus (produced by histamine that is released in allergic reactions) and mucous secretion. The redness of the eye is intense and may associate sneezing and runny nose.

Vernal or spring keratoconjunctivitis is a common type of allergic conjunctivitis in boys aged 8 to 10 years. In addition to the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, they associate intense photophobia and cobblestone papules in the tarsal conjunctiva. It may present corneal involvement in the form of keratitis or ulcers.

The treatment of allergic conjunctivitis consists of avoiding allergens, to the extent possible, and taking antihistamines (in the form of eye drops or systemic, depending on the general manifestations of the allergy). In some cases, corticosteroids can be used.

In those people who wear contact lenses, an immunoallergic picture known as giant papillary conjunctivitis may appear, with itching and abundant secretions. This forces to remove the contact lenses and Sometimes it requires treatment with corticosteroids.

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