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5 Myths About Conjunctivitis
Posted by: Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute in Eye Health
Conjunctivitis, usually referred to as pink eye, is a prevalent eye condition. Pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, irritated by a virus, bacteria, or allergies where the eyes are inflamed and red. Some types of pink eye are very contagious and can quickly spread from person to person. There are many misconceptions about conjunctivitis, and we want to share with you the top five common myths people tend to make about conjunctivitis and the facts behind them.
Myth No. 1: Pink eye is always infectious and very contagious.
Fact: There are different types of conjunctivitis, and not all of them are infectious. Viral conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis (caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria) are very contagious. On the other hand, allergic conjunctivitis usually occurs in people with seasonal allergies. Also, chemical conjunctivitis is caused by direct contact with irritants such as chlorine when swimming in the pool.
Myth No 2: If you have eye redness, then it must be pink eye.
Fact: Not all eye discoloration qualifies as pink eye. There are many types of eye irritations that cause pinkness. Pink eye results in bright inflammation on the eye’s surface, and redness appears on or around the eye and usually indicates conditions other than allergies or infection. These conditions include:
- Injuries to the eye surface, such as scrapes or sores
- A foreign object in the eye, such as an insect or metal fragment
- An infection of the eye socket
Myth No 3: There is no treatment for conjunctivitis.
Usually, conjunctivitis is often mild, but you should see your eye doctor immediately if it is accompanied by eye pain, vision problems, or the symptoms worsen. It may soothe and ease dryness using eye drops known as artificial tears. A warm or cool compress can help relieve irritates and reduce inflammation; allergy medications can improve symptoms when allergies cause pink eye. Call and schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for specific treatments that would be best for you.
Myth No. 4: If you don’t rub your eyes, you won’t get pink eye.
Fact: Not washing your hands and touching your eyes is just one way you can get conjunctivitis. The eye can become infected with any contaminated object, such as makeup or improperly cleaned contact lenses. Exposure to coughing and sneezing of a person with an upper-respiratory infection can cause viral conjunctivitis. Dander, dust mites, and pet dander are causes of other conjunctivitis caused by allergies.
Myth No. 5: Pink eye is a kid’s condition.
Pink eye is pervasive in children but is not just a kid’s condition. Millions of Americans, including adults, get pink eye each year. Infectious conjunctivitis is commonly caused by hand-to-eye contact.
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References: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, and the National Eye Institute. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.