Eye Health: What is Conjunctivitis? 

When it comes to eye conditions, infections, and illnesses, some are more common than others. One extremely common condition that most people are likely to experience at least once in their life is conjunctivitis. While conjunctivitis may sound foreign to you, you may be more familiar with its layman’s term: pink eye. People experience pink eye every day, and there are many misconceptions about what it is, who can get it, and how it can be avoided. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “what is conjunctivitis?” this is what you should know.  

What is Conjuncitivis?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva: the clear tissue that lines the surface of your eyes. As its nickname name suggests, this inflammation and irritation of the eye presents itself as a pink colour to the eyes, along with dryness, itchiness, and discharge. Pink eye is almost instantly recognizable with colour and irritation; you will be able to see the infection in your own eye clearly and most likely in the eyes of those affected. 

It’s commonly misunderstood that pink eye is only a condition experienced by children. While pink eye–like most common illnesses and conditions like the common cold–is more common in children because of their general proclivity to spreading illnesses among each other, anyone can experience pink eye, and catching it is nothing to be embarrassed about. 

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

When making an effort to prevent the spread of pink eye, it’s not enough to simply ask yourself what is conjunctivitis. You must also understand what causes conjunctivitis in order to protect yourself from it. Conjunctivitis has several ways of forming in the eyes, including but not limited to: 

  • Allergens in the eyes 
  • Bacteria transmitted from the hands to the eyes
  • Common viruses entering the eyes or body 
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 
  • A blocked or infected tear duct 

How Do I Prevent Conjunctivitis? 

Now that you understand what conjunctivitis is and how it can be caused in the first place, you can have a better understanding of how to prevent it from starting. While sometimes pink eye can be unavoidable, you can lower your chances by adhering to the following precautions: 

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom
  • Only touch your eyes with your hands when necessary (like putting in contact lenses)
  • When you do touch your eyes with your hands, make sure to wash them thoroughly first 
  • Do not share pillows with others
  • Do not share eye makeup like mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow with others 
  • Do not share towels and washcloths with others 

Eye Health and Safety with Regular Eye Exams 

A great way to ensure your eye health and safety and avoid illnesses and conditions like conjunctivitis is to schedule regular eye exams at your local Hakim Optical. Adults over the age of twenty should have an eye exam performed once every two years, and adults over the age of 65 should have an eye exam performed once every calendar year. This will ensure that your eyes are healthy, without any potential conditions, and the least susceptible to infection. This also gives an optometrist the opportunity to diagnose and treat any potential issues in the eyes. Scheduling eye exams regularly is a great way to ensure your health, safety, comfort, and proper vision. 

Are you due for your next eye exam?
Don’t delay, Visit your local Hakim Optical Store today! 

Hakim Optical has provided Canadians with quality corrective lenses at a value that can’t be beat for over 55 years. Our knowledgeable staff and optometrists are here to help you find an eyewear solution tailored specifically to you. 

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