March 20, 2008

Comparison Between Pink Eye, Sties And Allergies

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

The inflammation of the conjunctiva that covers the white membrane of the eye is known as conjunctivitis and is commonly referred to as ‘pink eye.’ It is a common medical condition that can affect anyone at any age. If the pink eye is caused by bacteria or virus, it is highly contagious. However, if environmental allergens and climate changes cause a pink eye, it is non-contagious and can be treated as per individual’s allergy treatment plan.

Is it pink eye or something else?

Pink eye can be infectious or non-infectious. As mentioned earlier, conjunctivitis caused by allergies are non-infectious, while those caused by bacteria and virus are infectious. Pink eye can be characterized by heavy tearing, discharge, inflammation and swelling, itchiness, and soreness.

Pink Eye vs. Allergies

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is the most common form of pink eye that is caused by pollen, mold, and dander that irritate the eyes. Usually, it occurs during late spring, summer, and early autumn. It is also known as hay fever conjunctivitis as it is followed by sneezing and an itchy, runny nose. Conjunctivitis may also occur due to infection of the conjunctiva by bacteria, viruses or other allergens and toxins. When we compare pink eye caused by allergies to that caused by infection, it is somewhat difficult to differentiate as both manifest the same or similar symptoms.

The difference between pink eye and allergies will be obvious that in allergic conjunctivitis, both eyes are usually affected. Further, a red eye with a yellow-colored discharge is the symptom of an infectious pink eye, whereas red eyes with itching and a watery discharge is the symptom of allergic conjunctivitis. However, it is best to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis, as you may need antibiotics for bacterial infections.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

Redness and swelling in the white of the eye and eyelids are the main symptoms of pink eye. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Severe itching
  • Increased watering (allergic reaction)
  • Burning and swollen eyelids
  • White, yellow or green discharge (infectious pink eye)
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Crusting of eyelids and eyelashes (infectious pink eye)

So What is a Sty?

A sty is a lump in or along the eyelid. In spite of its painful, annoying characteristics, it is not a serious condition. Mostly, without any treatment, it will vanish on their own. A sty occurs due to bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands of Zeis at the root of the eyelashes. The infection of tiny oil glands inside the eyelid causes an internal hordeolum.

The difference between a pink eye and a sty is the part of the eye that is affected. The sty develops on the eyelid, while in a pink eye, the outermost layer of the eye is affected. Further, a sty is a lump on the eyelid and usually harmless, whereas pink eye is painful and makes the entire eyeball pink.

Treatment for Pink Eye

Usually, viral conjunctivitis does not require medication. However, to avoid consequent bacterial infection, it is vital to consult your physician. Infectious conjunctivitis caused by bacterial infections can be treated using antibiotics.

The discharge associated with pink eye can be controlled with a warm washcloth. Eye drops help to alleviate irritation, soreness, and redness. Allergic conjunctivitis can be avoided by avoiding exposure to the allergens that cause conjunctivitis. Antihistamine and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to control allergic conjunctivitis.

The chances of getting a pink eye can be reduced by avoiding people who have conjunctivitis. Washing hands regularly and keeping hands away from the eyes can also reduce the chances of a pink eye. If you wear contact lens, ensure to clean them carefully. If you suffer from pink eye, do not wear contact lenses until the condition clears.