Acute conjunctivitis, often called pinkeye, is an inflammatory process involving the eyelids’ outer and inner aspects. Conjunctivitis typically comes in three presentations: viral, bacterial, or allergic.
There are, however, several other cases of less common conjunctivitis:
- Thermal and ultraviolet burns
- Foreign bodies
- Overuse of contact lenses
- Vitamin deficiency
- Dry eye, sometimes due to inadequate eyelid closure
- Exposure to chickens infected with Newcastle disease
Let’s take a quick look at the three conventional types of conjunctivitis.
Viral conjunctivitis can present as acute or subacute onset, with minimal pain and exposure history. Pruritus is common, and a clear, watery discharge is typical. Occasionally, sensation occurs, usually caused by adenovirus. This type spreads by contact with a variety of contagious viruses. These infections need not be more extreme than the typical cold infection, as these cases primarily deal with upper respiratory tract side effects.
The onset of bacterial conjunctivitis can be sudden, painless, sporadic, and occasionally linked to previous exposure. Staphylococcal and streptococcal species are the most well-known microorganisms. The cause of bacterial conjunctivitis is the contamination of skin or respiratory tissue by pyogenic organisms. Another common way to spread infection, generally among females, is through sharing facial lotions or eye makeup. And lastly, it is possible to share this kind of “pinkeye” through contact with other people or their environment.
Allergic conjunctivitis manifests as an acute beginning, where there is no pain and no exposure history. Pruritus is extremely common and is the hallmark symptom of this condition. Clear, watery discharge is typical, with or without a moderate amount of mucus production. This type generally follows a seasonal pattern and is more common among those with allergic conditions. Unlike the others, allergic conjunctivitis tends to take over both eyes and produces swollen eyelids due to reactions to such substances as perfume, drugs, cosmetics, contact lenses, o protein deposits.