According to the American Journal of Infection Control, more than 164 million school days are missed annually in U.S. public schools due to the spread of infectious diseases. An astonishing 3 million of those school days are lost as a result of acute conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.”
In recognition of September’s “Children’s Eye Health Month,” the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants to teach parents and educators how to prevent the spread of pink eye in the classroom.
Pink eye is all too common amongst children; it is one of the most common conditions I treat. The only way to really prevent pink eye from spreading is to practice good hygiene.
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is the term used to describe swelling of the conjunctiva — the thin, filmy membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. There are three forms of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial and allergic.
Viral conjunctivitis, the most common form of pink eye, is caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. Just as a cold must run its course, so must this form of pink eye. It is also very contagious.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is a highly contagious form of pink eye, caused by bacterial infections. This type of conjunctivitis usually causes a red eye with a lot of pus.
Allergic conjunctivitis is a form of conjunctivitis that is caused by the body’s reaction to an allergen or irritant. It is not contagious. This type of conjunctivitis is usually associated with redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid.
How do you get pink eye and how do you prevent it?
Conjunctivitis, whether bacterial or viral, can be quite contagious. Children are usually most susceptible to getting the condition from bacteria or viruses because they are in close contact with so many others in schools or daycare centers. Some of the most common ways to get the contagious form of pink eye: Read More