Causes of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is when the conjunctiva of the eye, which is a transparent layer of thin eye tissue that makes up the eyelid’s inner surface that covers the eye’s white area. Conjunctivitis is generally referred to as pink eye. The disease is very common and can be found more often in children. It can infect one or both eyes. Some types of conjunctivitis can be extremely contagious and spread easily.

Conjunctivitis is usually just an inconsequential eye infection but can lead to serious problems if not treated promptly and properly. Contagious forms are caused by viruses or bacteria infection. It can also be caused by eye irritation from allergens such as pollen, smoke, chlorine and cosmetic ingredients. What causes conjunctivitis is going to vary depending on what kind it is.

There are three types of conjunctivitis: chemical, infectious and allergic.

Chemical conjunctivitis is caused by pollutants in the air that irritate the eyes, pool cleaning chemicals such as chlorine or if the eyes are exposed to toxic chemicals.

Allergic conjunctivitis happens usually in those people who already have seasonal allergies, for example during the summer someone that comes into contact with pollen which causes an allergic reaction in their eyes. Another kind is giant papillary conjunctivitis that is caused when a foreign object is in the eye for a prolonged period of time. It happens often in those who use hard or soft contact lenses that are not changed often enough. Also to those who have a suture on the eye that is exposed or a glass eye.

There are two main categories of infectious conjunctivitis, bacterial and viral. Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually caused by either the staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. It can either be contracted from your own respiratory system of skin but also from contact with others who are infected, insects, using makeup or lotions that are contaminated and by poor hand washing practices. A severe type of bacterial conjunctivitis is ophthalmia neonatorum, which is found in newborns. This severe eye condition occurs when babies are exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia whilst being born.

Viral conjunctivitis is caused most often by the very contagious virus that goes along with the common cold. People’s eyes get exposed to this virus through being exposed to sneezing and/or coughing by those who are infected with the virus in the respiratory area. It can also be spread through the virus being contained in the mucous membranes that connect through the lungs, nose, conjunctiva and tear ducts.

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