Conjunctivitis is an inflammation, redness, edema, swelling, hypervascularization, discharge, or infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear, very thin protective membrane that covers the white sclera of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva can easily become infected, red, and swollen. Conjunctivitis is more common in children, but can occur in all ages. Conjunctivitis is very common and very contagious. Every time you blink your eyes, tears splash onto your face, skin and clothing. This splashing can be transmitted to and from others or re-infect you or them. Eye splashes can go up to 6 feet. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria or viral infections, chemical irritation, wind, dust, trauma, foreign body, smoke, air pollution, allergens and chemicals. Contaminated contact lenses or shared cosmetics can pass conjunctivitis infections to many other people. Contamination can be from allergies caused by cosmetics, perfumes, pollen, saliva, animals or other allergens or partially closed or infected tear ducts. Any source of bacteria introduced into the eye may be the cause. Conjunctivitis can quickly become a small epidemic.
There is substantial risk of developing conjunctivitis with newborns whose mothers were carriers of Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. People who have unsanitary and crowded living conditions are more susceptible. Several exposures may come from public places such as day-care centers, schools, dorms, and prisons. Symptoms may affect one or both eyes and spread quickly too many others. You may notice a clear, green, or yellow discharge from the eye or eyes. Often after sleeping, crusts on the lashes that can cause the eyelids to stick together may appear. You may notice eye pain, swollen eyelids, redness, and itching of the eye. Some people have sensitivity to light. The eye may swell partially or shut completely.
In order to prevent conjunctivitis, it is essential to wash your hands and face frequently with Johnson's Baby Shampoo and plenty of warm water. Use single disposable towels or cloths to cleanse the face and eye area. Do not reuse a towel, rag, or cloth that you have already used. You should run all commonly used items through the dishwasher to eliminate bacteria i.e. eye glasses, pens and car keys. Use Lysol spray liberally on all surfaces. Never share eyeliners, eye shadows, mascaras, or contact solution and discard make-up after 4 to 6 months. Make sure to change and discard contact lenses regularly according to the package directions, their containers and solutions, and all contact items.
We will often administer a dye to stain the eye and view the eye with a specialized light to identify the area that is injured or infected. We must first clearly see and identify a foreign body, ulcer, infection or an allergic pattern to make a correct diagnosis. Anywhere the dye is visible indicates an infected or bruised area of tissue with dye uptake. The dye will deteriorate and wash away within a few hours. Dye uptake, when the lids are open wide on the air exposed area, usually indicates air allergens. We will often prescribe an antibiotic drop, combination antibiotic drops, or ointment along with possibly a steroid to help reduce the inflammation and swelling. We may prescribe an anti-allergy medication if it is determined that allergens are causing the infection and swelling. Pill antihistamines and removal from the allergy sources are essential. We would suggest an anti-viral if necessary. You should administer the medication as soon as you receive them at either our office or the pharmacy. Never touch the medication applicator directly to the eye, as it will contaminate the container. Never share the medication with another person. Store the medication in the refrigerator if possible. The cooler the drops, the more soothing they are to the eye. The cold decreases bacteria growth. Discard drops upon completion of treatment; do not save them for future use, as you may get the original infection back again. Your tetanus immediately should be updated at this time, as the eye problem is an open wound and a partial source for tetanus infection.
In order to reduce spread of conjunctivitis you should wash your hands and face frequently with Johnson's Baby Shampoo for 5-7 days. Only use fresh or disposable towels. Make sure to change your sheets and pillow cases daily for 5 days and change your clothing twice daily. Avoid touching, rubbing or itching your eyes. Do not use eye makeup and throw out all old eye makeup. If you use contacts, do not wear them for two weeks and then begin with a new pair. Discard the previous pair and discard all solutions and cases. Wear and regularly cleanse your eye glasses.
Immediately notify Doctors Medical Center if:
1) You or a family member has any possible symptoms of conjunctivitis.
2) The infection does not improve significantly within 12 hours, despite treatment.
3) Any fever, headaches, neck stiffness, seizures, or personality changes.
4) Pain, redness, discharge, or light sensitivity increases in any way.
5) Your vision is affected in any way

John Drew Laurusonis

Doctors Medical Center

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Laurusonis was conferred his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1983 and has been actively taking care of patients since completing his Internal Medicine residency in 1987 in the Garden State of New Jersey. Dr. Laurusonis has been licensed in four states but ultimately chose to permanently relocate to Georgia with his family and begin a private practice. Through his extensive experience in Internal Medicine, as well as in Emergency Rooms throughout the United States, Dr. Laurusonis saw how traditional Emergency Rooms were often overwhelmed by patients suffering medical conditions that were urgent but may not need the traditional “Level I Trauma Center”. Patients often waited six to twelve hours to be seen by a physician, were riddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills, and were generally unhappy with the system.
Dr. Laurusonis decided to open an Urgent Care Center instead of a 9-5 doctor's office. Through the last fifteen years he has received accolades from the community and his patients. He has expanded his practice to include many cosmetic therapies that have previously been treated with painful and extensive plastic surgery. He has been invited to the White House numerous times, has been named Physician of the Year, as seen in the Wall Street Journal, and has served as Honorary Co-Chairman on the Congressional Physicians Advisory Board
Dr. Laurusonis and his practice, Doctors Medical Center, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm offering such services as lab, x-ray, EKGs, aesthetics (Botox, dermabrasion, sclerotheraby and veins etc.), cold/flu, sore throats, fractures, sprains, lacerations, GYN, Pediatrics, Anxiety/Insomnia/Depression Treatment, skin tag/mole removal, veins, allergies, asthma, physicals--just to name a few. Dr. Laurusonis welcomes you to either make an appointment or just walk-in to see him. Dr. Laurusonis will take the time to speak with you about your concerns--no problem is too big or too small. If you need additional services we have specialist referrals available or we can refer you to the neighborhood hospital emergency room. Give Doctors Medical Center a call--Dr. Laurusonis will be happy to speak with you.

John Drew Laurusonis, MD
Doctors Medical Center
3455 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Suite 110
Duluth, GA 30096