Conjunctivitis: Putting a Lid on Pink Eye - Dr. Sarah Kuruvilla

dr. Kuruvilla thank you so much for

joining us here on health connection our

topic is conjunctivitis of five dollar

word for a disease that we probably

remember his kids pinkeye and we're

talking about putting a lid on pinkeye

so let's get a definition what is

conjunctivitis or otherwise known as

pinkeye what is it yes

so conjunctivitis is also commonly known

as pinkeye it is a medical condition

involving inflammation of the lining of

the eyelid as well as the eye itself and

one of the most common symptoms the most

common symptoms with conjunctivitis is

itchy nasai

redness of the eye hence the name

pinkeye a lot of times you can also have

a gritty sensation in the eye a feeling

of irritation generalized discomfort

matting up the eyelids or even

discharged from the eyelids what causes

it and how long does it last

there are two main types of causes for

pinkeye two of them being one is

infectious and the other one is non

infectious and origin so the infectious

types are either viral or bacterial in

origin and then the non-infectious types

are either allergic or irritants based

and so symptoms wises symptoms typically

lasts about one week to about one and a

half weeks give or take okay if you

begin feeling the tell-tale symptoms

which in in my case I've had it it's a

grittiness that you just described you

begin feeling that coming on so anything

you can do to either head it off or

lessen the severity so a lot of times it

depends on the type of conjunctivitis

but you can try using cold compresses

over the eyelids you can also use

over-the-counter or artificial tear

eyedrops and see if that kind of

minimizes the symptoms a lot of times if

the symptoms persist or you develop

worsening of the symptoms you do need to

get evaluated by a physician who can

decide whether you need to be on

antibiotic therapy or not okey dokey

pinkeye more common I remember there's

kids you know you'd see it in school but

is it more common in children than it is

in adults or is age even a factor age is

not really a factor with pinkeye or


it's seen in children and adults alike

it is more commonly seen in children

however and otherwise age is not really

a factor okay you mentioned this earlier

contagiousness how contagious is pinkeye

and how do we transmit it how's it how

does it get around so pinkeye is very

contagious especially if it's viral or

bacterial in origin it's primarily

transmitted through direct physical

contact with others through handshakes

or sharing personal items especially if

they've been infected with pinkeye and

are undergoing the infection if it's

allergen based usually if you're exposed

to something you're allergic to it can

lead to an allergic type of

conjunctivitis okay so what are the

steps to prevent the transmission of

pinkeye and once you have signs that you

have pinkeye to what degree do you pose

a risk to others so pinkeye is commonly

transmitted through a direct physical

contact so the key is really to practice

good personal hand hygiene through

frequent hand-washing avoiding

handshakes with other individuals if

you're infected with pinkeye because

it's easily transmittable in that manner

it's also important to avoid sharing

personal items such as cosmetics or

washcloths or towels it's also important

if you're a contact lens where to avoid

wearing contacts if you're infected with

pinkeye because that can worsen the

symptoms and the grittiness sensation in

the eyes so those are a few things that

you could do to prevent transmission or

worsening of the symptoms so it's safe

to say that once you are symptomatic you

are probably posing a contagion risk to

somebody okay okay come on it is pink

ice a big deal to suppose any serious

health risk or just an annoying

infection that you know has to run its


serious complications are rare with

pinkeye however schools often require

children to be on antibiotics for at

least 24 to 48 hours prior to

readmission a lot of times if symptoms

persist or you get worsening of symptoms

it is important to be evaluated by a

physician and they can treat you

appropriately with antibiotics if

necessary it's also necessary to be a


by a physician as soon as possible if

you have symptoms of pain or sensitivity

to light or vision changes it's

important to get evaluated all right you

touched on this how do we treat this

disease and can you treat it yourself or

do you really need a physician so if

it's viral or allergic in origin you

could try using cold compresses over the

eyelids as I mentioned earlier or even

over-the-counter artificial tears or


you can also it's important to avoid

wearing contact lenses during the period

of the illness because that can worsen

symptoms and those are fourth few things

you can try beforehand and if the

symptoms persist or symptoms worsen it

is important to get evaluated by a

physician and they can he or she can

start you on antibiotics if necessary a

lot of times bacterial conjunctivitis

can cause matting of the eyelids or

discharge from the eyelids and a lot of

times the symptoms persist so that's

when you need to get checked out by a

physician well what are the implications

of leaving it untreated what if you just

let it run with conjunctivitis you can

run run the course with trying some of

the things we talked about our home

remedies like we discussed the main

issue is I think if you start developing

worsening symptoms or the symptoms

persist for maybe more than a week or

two weeks or if you knowif vision is

affected sensitivity light occurs things

like that you do need to get evaluated

by a physician as soon as possible and

schools especially with children and

especially in the workplace a lot of

employers and schools want people to be

on antibiotic therapy just to be on the

safe side so a lot of times those

students and workers need to be on

therapy for at least 24 hours prior to

readmission back to the work place okay

and related to that if you've been

diagnosed or treated for pinkeye when

can you go back to school go back to

work so that's a perfect segue and so

it's safe to be on antibiotic therapy

for at least 24 to 48 hours and it's

safe to go back to work after you've

been on therapy for that long it's no

more contagious than a common cold so

it's safe to return to school

or work it's just important to practice

good personal hygiene that's really the

key all right any seasonality to this

condition is there a peak time of year

for it there is not really a peak time

of year for it a lot of times you see it

more in winter months or in the summer

spring months when allergy season kind

of goes up you can see it a lot of times

in the children as well as in adults

okay how does you and util you talked

about this earlier in the segment let's

just put a underline under it you have

pinkeye and you wear contacts right so

contact lens wearers are actually kind

of an increased risk of pinkeye if they

get infected there are certain strains

of bacteria that are specific to contact

lens wearers so it's important if you

develop symptoms that are very similar

to other types of conjunctivitis that we

mentioned and you're a context lens

where it's important to get evaluated by

a physician so they could start you an

appropriate antibiotic eyedrops and it's

important to not sleep in your contacts

routinely at night changing out the

contact solutions in the carriers and

lenses itself to prevent increased risk

of infection all right

now this is good this question is gonna

kind of sum up everything you said just

give us some good rules to follow they

can keep us from having this problem to

begin with so like we discussed earlier

it's important to practice good personal

proper hand hygiene so frequent hand

washing is very beneficial to prevent

the risk of transmission you know

changing out wash cloths and towels on a

daily basis or at least on a consistent

basis of waiting sharing of personal

items with others such as cosmetics or

washcloths changing out eye cosmetics

makeup in general every three to six

months ideally avoiding sleeping in

contact lenses changing out the contact

lens itself solutions and carriers on a

consistent basis to because those can

often harbor bacteria and increase the

rate of infection so overall those would

be things that I would do to prevent

transmission of infection

very well doctor thank you thank you it

was a pleasure being here