Common Types of Conjunctivitis

For the most part, there are three common types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial, and allergic. However, conjunctivitis can also be caused by irritants, such as a metal in the eye, chemicals, plastic in the eye, or pollutants. 

The Three Types of Conjunctivitis

Viral Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye

Viral conjunctivitises make up the bulk of all cases. Viruses cause nearly 80% of all conjunctivitis seen here in our Tulsa clinics. Many different viruses can be the source of infection. Now, these viruses are the same as what can cause the common cold. Also, just like the common cold these viral conjunctivitises spread easily via touch from person to person, making outbreaks common among children in schools.

Much like the common cold typically with a viral conjuctivitis we have to wait on the virus to run its course.

Want to mention here to make sure and change out your mascara wands and makeup brushes if you have pink eye.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Next, bacterial infections can also cause conjunctivitis. These aren’t seen very often outside of contact lens wearers. Types of bacteria that cause bacterial conjunctivitis include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Bacterial conjunctivitis also spreads easily by touch, either through hand-to-eye contact or hand-to-nose contact. It can also thread through improper contact lens use.

This type of conjunctivitis is much more common in adults due to the fact that adults wear contact lenses more often.

This can be treated with antibiotic eye drops.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic reactions occur when your body responds abnormally to a typically harmless object. What happens is mast cells in your eye recognize allergens and release a chemical called histamine. Now, what histamine does is it causes inflammation and swelling. This will leave your eyes watery, red, and itchy.

Allergens that cause a runny nose or sneezing are the exact same allergens that affect your eyes.

These allergens include;

  • pollen
  • dust
  • pet dander
  • mold
  • smoke
  • types of perfume
  • skin care products
  • eye care products (mainly BAK)
  • medications

Allergic conjunctivitis can be relieved with some allergy eye drops.

Allergic conjunctivitis also comes in two different varieties; seasonal allergic conjunctivitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis. So, those are the three types of conjunctivitis and some quick information on what to look for with them.

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