Can you get pink eye more than once: 8 Common Myths About Pink Eye
8 Common Myths About Pink Eye
Myth No. 1: Only children get pink eye.
FACT: Pink eye is very common in children, but it’s not just a kids’ condition. Millions of Americans — children and adults — get pink eye each year. (1) The condition frequently occurs in children for several reasons. Pink eye is commonly caused by hand-to-eye contact, and kids (especially younger ones) are more likely to rub their eyes and not wash their hands properly. Infectious conjunctivitis is easily spread in environments where children are in close proximity — such as at school or day care.
Myth No. 2: You won’t get pink eye if you don’t rub your eyes.
FACT: Touching your eyes with unclean hands is just one way that you can get conjunctivitis. The eye can become infected if it comes in contact with any contaminated object or substance, such as improperly cleaned contact lenses, makeup or lotions, or the tip of an eye-drop dispenser that was used on an eye with conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis can be spread through exposure to the coughing and sneezing of a person with an upper-respiratory infection such as a common cold. Other types of conjunctivitis can be caused by allergens such as dust mites and pet dander or by exposure to irritants such as pollution and chemicals. (2)
Myth No. 3: Pink eye is always infectious and very contagious.
FACT: Different types of pink eye exist, and not all of them are infectious. Bacterial conjunctivitis (caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria) and viral conjunctivitis are very contagious. On the other hand, allergic conjunctivitis usually occurs in people with seasonal allergies; and chemical conjunctivitis is caused by contact with irritants such as smog or the chlorine in swimming pool water. (2)
Myth No. 4: You can’t be born with conjunctivitis.
FACTS: Newborns can have neonatal conjunctivitis, which is caused by a blocked tear duct, irritation to the eye, or an infection. A mother can pass bacteria and viruses to a baby during childbirth. Two common types of neonatal conjunctivitis occur when the mother has the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia or gonorrhea. Babies born with chlamydial or gonococcal conjunctivitis can develop serious infections in other parts of the body, such as the lungs and the spinal cord (meningitis). Neonatal conjunctivitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics. (3)
Myth No. 5: You never need to go to the doctor for conjunctivitis.
FACT: Most of the time, pink eye doesn’t require special treatment and gets better on its own. However, it can sometimes lead to complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you see a healthcare provider if you have symptoms and any of the following: eye pain, blurred vision, a weakened immune system, or a preexisting eye condition. (4) If your symptoms persist or worsen, talk to your doctor.
Myth No. 6: If you have eye redness, then it must be conjunctivitis.
FACT: Red or bloodshot eyes can be a sign of many things besides conjunctivitis. Allergies, dry eye syndrome, and irritants can cause a red discoloration of the white of the eye. But eye redness can have more serious reasons behind it. Here are three eye conditions that should not be ignored:
- Glaucoma, which causes damage to the optic nerve, affects more than 3 million Americans. (5) One form of glaucoma, known as angle-closure glaucoma, causes the eye to redden and vision to blur. It’s an urgent medical condition that can cause blindness if not treated. (6)
- Scleritis is an inflammation of the tough, outer protective barrier around the eye. It’s often associated with an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. In its most severe form, it can lead to complications such as retinal detachment and vision loss. (7)
- Uveitis is an inflammation and swelling of the middle coating of the eyeball. This condition can damage eye tissue and cause permanent vision loss. (8)
Myth No. 7: There is no treatment for conjunctivitis.
FACT: Conjunctivitis is often mild and goes away on its own. But treatments can relieve some symptoms, depending on the type of conjunctivitis. Eye drops known as artificial tears can ease dryness, warm or cool compresses can soothe irritated eyes and reduce inflammation, and allergy medications can improve symptoms when pink eye is caused by allergens. If the condition is accompanied by eye pain, vision problems, or worsening symptoms, then you should seek medical attention. (9)
Myth No. 8: Once you’ve had conjunctivitis, you’re immune to it.
FACT: Regardless of the type of pink eye, having it once doesn’t protect you against getting it in the future. Bacteria and viruses that cause infectious conjunctivitis can strike anytime. Some things you can do to protect against infection are avoid rubbing your eyes, wash your hands often, do not share things like towels and makeup, and properly clean eyeglasses or contact lenses. As with any allergy, the best way to protect against the recurrence of allergic conjunctivitis is to avoid exposure to known allergens. Remember that conjunctivitis can spread from one eye to the other, so avoid touching the unaffected eye with anything that has come into contact with the affected eye.
Preventing Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) | CDC
Preventing the Spread of Conjunctivitis
Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) are very contagious. They can spread easily from person to person. You can greatly reduce the risk of getting conjunctivitis or spreading it to someone else by following some simple steps for good hygiene.
If You Have Conjunctivitis
If you have conjunctivitis, you can help limit its spread to other people by following these steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Wash them especially well before and after cleaning, or applying eye drops or ointment to, your infected eye. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands. (See CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives! website for tips on proper handwashing.)
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread it to your other eye.
- With clean hands, wash any discharge from around your eye(s) several times a day using a clean, wet washcloth or fresh cotton ball. Throw away cotton balls after use, and wash used washcloths with hot water and detergent, then wash your hands again with soap and warm water.
- Do not use the same eye drop dispenser/bottle for your infected and non-infected eyes.
- Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often in hot water and detergent; wash your hands after handling such items.
- Stop wearing contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay to start wearing them again.
- Clean eyeglasses, being careful not to contaminate items (like hand towels) that might be shared by other people.
- Clean, store, and replace your contact lenses as instructed by your eye doctor.
- Do not share personal items, such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses.
- Do not use swimming pools.
If You Are Around Someone with Conjunctivitis
If you are around someone with conjunctivitis, you can reduce your risk of infection by following these steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and warm water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands. (See CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives! website for tips on proper handwashing.)
- Wash your hands after contact with an infected person or items he or she uses; for example, wash your hands after applying eye drops or ointment to an infected person’s eye(s) or after putting their bed linens in the washing machine.
- Avoid touching your eyes with unwashed hands.
- Do not share items used by an infected person; for example, do not share pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses.
Avoid Getting Sick Again
In addition, if you have conjunctivitis, there are steps you can take to avoid re-infection once the infection goes away:
- Throw away and replace any eye or face makeup or makeup brushes you used while infected.
- Throw away disposable contact lenses and cases that you used while your eyes were infected.
- Throw away contact lens solutions that you used while your eyes were infected.
- Clean extended wear lenses as directed.
- Clean eyeglasses and cases that you used while infected.
Follow these tips to keep your eyes healthy when wearing contact lenses.
Vaccines can prevent some infections associated with conjunctivitis
There is no vaccine that prevents all types of conjunctivitis. However, there are vaccines to protect against some viral and bacterial diseases that are associated with conjunctivitis:
Conjunctivitis caused by allergens or irritants is not contagious unless a secondary viral or bacterial infection develops.
Top of Page
Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) (for Teens) – Nemours Kidshealth
What Is Pinkeye?
You might know the eye infection conjunctivitis (pronounced: kun-junk-tih-VY-tus) as pinkeye. It’s common in young kids because it’s usually contagious and tends to sweep through preschools and playgrounds. But even teens and adults can get pinkeye.
The good news is that pinkeye is a minor infection and although it might look bad, it’s not usually serious.
What Causes Pinkeye?
Pinkeye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye and the inner eyelids. The condition can be either infectious (it can spread to other people) or noninfectious.
When people talk about pinkeye, they usually mean the infectious kind. It’s often caused by the same bacteria and viruses responsible for colds and other infections, including ear infections, sinus infections, and sore throats.
It’s also possible for the same types of bacteria that cause the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) chlamydia and gonorrhea to cause conjunctivitis. If someone touches an infected person’s genitals and then rubs his or her own eye or touches a contact lens, the infection can spread to the eye.
Some kinds of pinkeye are noninfectious, such as:
- allergic conjunctivitis, caused by an allergic reaction
- irritant conjunctivitis, caused by anything that irritates the eyes, such as air pollution or chlorine in pools
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Pinkeye?
The very pink or red coloring that gives the infection its nickname is a telltale sign of pinkeye. It’s also usual to have discomfort in the eye, which may feel itchy or gritty. Often, there’s some discharge from the eye, and pain and swelling of the conjunctiva. Pinkeye can affect one or both eyes.
It can be hard to tell whether the infection is caused by a virus or bacteria. In general, the discharge associated with viral conjunctivitis is watery, whereas it will be thicker and more pus-like when the infection is caused by bacteria. When you wake up in the morning, your eyelids may be stuck together (don’t be alarmed, though — cleaning your eyes with a warm washcloth will loosen the dried crusts).
Itchiness and tearing are common with allergic conjunctivitis.
Is Pinkeye Contagious?
Yes, if it’s caused by bacteria or a virus. Pinkeye that’s caused by bacteria can spread to others as soon as symptoms appear and for as long as there’s discharge from the eye — or until 24 hours after antibiotics are started. Conjunctivitis that’s caused by a virus is generally contagious before symptoms appear and can remain so as long as the symptoms last.
Allergic conjunctivitis and irritant conjunctivitis are not contagious.
How Is Pinkeye Treated?
Because it can be hard to tell which kind of conjunctivitis a person has, it’s wise to visit a doctor if your eyes are red and irritated.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with prescription antibiotic drops or ointment. Drops — the form of treatment most commonly prescribed for teens — are used up to four times a day. They don’t hurt, although they may cause a brief stinging sensation. Even though your eyes should feel and look better after a couple of days, it’s important to use the drops for as long as the doctor has prescribed. The infection may come back if you stop too soon.
If a virus is causing conjunctivitis, antibiotic drops will not help. The eye infection will get better on its own as the body fights off the virus.
If you have allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe anti-allergy eyedrops or medicine in pill form.
Can Pinkeye Be Prevented?
Because infectious conjunctivitis is highly contagious, wash your hands after interacting with anyone who has the infection. Don’t share potentially infected items like washcloths, towels, gauze, or cotton balls. This can be difficult among family members, so just do the best you can.
If you have pinkeye, it’s important to wash your hands often, especially after touching your eyes. The infection can easily spread from one eye to the other on contaminated hands or tissues.
It’s also wise not to share cosmetics, especially eye makeup. Bacteria can hang out on beauty products, so avoid using the testers at makeup counters directly on your eyes. And if you’ve already had a bout of pinkeye, throw away all your eye makeup and splurge on new stuff (but don’t start using your new products until the infection is completely gone).
If you wear contact lenses and you have pinkeye, your doctor or eye doctor may recommend that you not wear contact lenses while infected. After the infection is gone, clean your lenses carefully. Be sure to disinfect the lenses and case at least twice before wearing them again. If you wear disposable contact lenses, throw away your current pair and use a new pair.
If you know that you’re prone to allergic conjunctivitis, limit allergy triggers in the home by keeping windows and doors closed on days when pollen is heavy and by not letting dust accumulate. Irritant conjunctivitis can only be prevented by avoiding the irritating causes.
How Can I Feel Better?
Placing cool or warm packs or washcloths over the infected eye (or eyes) can help. You can also take acetaminophen, if necessary. Clean the infected eye carefully with warm water and fresh, clean gauze or cotton balls.
Keep track of your symptoms, keep your hands clean, visit your doctor as needed, and follow your treatment instructions carefully. Within a week, your eyes should be feeling better.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention
Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.
Children get it a lot. It can be highly contagious (it spreads rapidly in schools and day cares), but it’s rarely serious. It’s very unlikely to damage your vision, especially if you find it and treat it quickly. When you take care to prevent its spread and do all the things your doctor recommends, pinkeye clears up with no long-term problems.
What Causes Pinkeye?
Several things could be to blame, including:
- Viruses, including the kind that causes the common cold
- Irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, and pool chlorine
- A reaction to eyedrops
- An allergic reaction to things like pollen, dust, or smoke. Or it could be due to a special type of allergy that affects some people who wear contact lenses.
- Fungi, amoebas, and parasites
Conjunctivitis sometimes results from a sexually transmitted disease (STD ). Gonorrhea can bring on a rare but dangerous form of bacterial conjunctivitis. It can lead to vision loss if you don’t treat it. Chlamydia can cause conjunctivitis in adults. If you have chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other bacteria in your body when you give birth, you can pass pinkeye to your baby through your birth canal.
Pinkeye caused by some bacteria and viruses can spread easily from person to person, but it isn’t a serious health risk if diagnosed promptly. If it happens in a newborn baby, though, tell a doctor right away, as it might be an infection that threatens the baby’s vision.
“Pinkeye” isn’t an official medical term. Most eye doctors would probably associate the term pinkeye with mild conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or a virus.
What Are the Types of Pinkeye?
Viral strains are the most common — and may be the most contagious — forms. They tend to start in one eye, where they cause lots of tears and a watery discharge. Within a few days, the other eye gets involved. You might feel a swollen lymph node in front of your ear or under your jawbone.
Bacterial strains usually infect one eye but can show up in both. Your eye will put out a lot of pus and mucus.
Allergic types produce tearing, itching, and redness in both eyes. You might also have an itchy, runny nose.
Ophthalmia neonatorum is a severe form that affects newborns. It can be caused by dangerous bacteria. Get it treated right away to prevent permanent eye damage or blindness.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis is linked with the long-term use of contacts or an artificial eye (ocular prosthesis). Doctors think it’s an allergic reaction to a chronic foreign body in your eye.
What Are the Symptoms of Pinkeye?
They depend on the cause of the inflammation, but may include:
- Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
- Swollen conjunctiva
- More tears than usual
- Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep. It can make your eyelids stick shut when you wake up.
- Green or white discharge from the eye
- Itchy eyes
- Burning eyes
- Blurred vision
- More sensitive to light
- Swollen lymph nodes (often from a viral infection)
When to Call Your Doctor
Make the call if:
- There’s a lot of yellow or green discharge from your eye, or if your eyelids are stuck together in the morning
- You have severe pain in your eye when you look into a bright light
- Your vision is obviously affected by pinkeye
- You have a high fever, shaking chills, face pain, or vision loss. (These are very unlikely symptoms.)
Call your doctor right away if your newborn has pinkeye, as it could permanently harm their vision.
Your eye doctor may tell you to come into the office to be seen immediately. If you can’t reach your eye doctor, call your primary care doctor if the pinkeye is mild in an adult
If your symptoms remain mild but the redness doesn’t improve within 2 weeks, you need to consult your eye doctor.
How Doctors Diagnose Conjunctivitis
Don’t assume that all red, irritated, or swollen eyes are pinkeye (viral conjunctivitis). Your symptoms could also be caused by seasonal allergies, a sty, iritis, chalazion (an inflammation of the gland along the eyelid), or blepharitis (an inflammation or infection of the skin along the eyelid). These conditions aren’t contagious.
Your eye doctor will ask you about your symptoms, give you an eye exam, and may use a cotton swab to take some fluid from your eyelid to test in a lab. That will help find bacteria or viruses that may have caused conjunctivitis, including those that can cause a sexually transmitted disease, or STD. Then your doctor can prescribe the right treatment.
If your doctor tells you that you have pinkeye, you may want to ask these questions:
- Is my pinkeye contagious?
- If it’s contagious, how do I avoid spreading it?
- Do I need to stay home from work or school?
What’s the Treatment for Pinkeye?
The treatment depends on the cause.
Viruses. This type of pinkeye often results from the viruses that cause a common cold. Just as a cold must run its course, the same is true for this form of pinkeye, which usually lasts from 4 to 7 days. Remember, it can be very contagious, so do everything you can to prevent its spread. Antibiotics will not help anything caused by a virus.
Bacteria. If bacteria, including those related to STDs, caused your pinkeye, you’ll take antibiotics in the form of eyedrops, ointments, or pills. You may need to apply eyedrops or ointments to the inside of your eyelid 3 to 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days. You would take pills for several days. The infection should improve within a week. Take or use the medicines as instructed by your doctor, even if the symptoms go away.
Irritants. For pinkeye caused by an irritating substance, use water to wash the substance from the eye for 5 minutes. Your eyes should begin to improve within 4 hours. If your conjunctivitis was caused by acid or alkaline material such as bleach, immediately rinse the eyes with lots of water and call your doctor right away.
Allergies. Conjunctivitis tied to allergies should improve once you get your allergy treated and avoid your allergy trigger. Antihistamines (either oral or drops) can give relief in the meantime. (But remember that if you have dry eyes, taking antihistamines by mouth can make your eyes even drier.) See your doctor if you think your pinkeye is due to an allergy.
Your eye doctor may have you return in several days to make sure your pinkeye is improving with the medication prescribed.
What Can I Do to Relieve Symptoms of Pinkeye?
A lot of it comes down to cleanliness.
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially before eating.
Keep your eyes clean. Wash any discharge from your eyes several times a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel. Afterward, discard the cotton ball or paper towel and wash your hands with soap and warm water.
Wash or change your pillowcase every day until the infection goes away. When you do the laundry, clean your bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent. Keep your own towels, washcloths, and pillows separate from others, or use paper towels.
Don’t touch or rub your infected eye with your fingers. Use tissues to wipe.
Don’t wear, and never share, eye makeup, eyedrops, or contact lenses. Wear glasses. And throw away disposable lenses, or be sure to clean extended-wear lenses and all eyewear cases.
Use a warm compress, such as a washcloth soaked in warm water. Put it on your eye for a few minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. This eases the pain and helps break up some of the crust that may form on your eyelashes.
Limit eyedrops. Don’t use them for more than a few days unless your eye doctor tells you to. It could make the redness worse.
Don’t put a patch over your eye. It may worsen the infection.
Protect your eyes from dirt and other things that irritate them.
Nonprescription “artificial tears,” a type of eyedrops, may help ease itching and burning from the irritating things that cause your pinkeye. But you shouldn’t use other types of eyedrops because they may irritate the eyes, including those promoted to treat eye redness. Don’t use the same bottle of drops in an uninfected eye. It also helps to learn how to use eyedrops the right way.
What About Work and School?
If your child has bacterial or viral pinkeye, keep them home from school or day care until they are no longer contagious. It’s usually safe to return to school when symptoms are gone. But keep up the good hygiene!
Pinkeye can spread in areas where people live, work, and play closely together. For instance, if you share a computer or other gear with others, make sure you wash your hands before you touch your face, especially during cold and flu season.
What Are the Complications of Pinkeye?
Usually, pinkeye clears up on its own or after you take any medicines your doctor prescribes, with no lasting problems. Mild pinkeye is almost always harmless and will get better without treatment.
But some forms of conjunctivitis can become serious and sight-threatening, because they can scar your cornea. They include conjunctivitis caused by gonorrhea, chlamydia, or certain strains of the adenovirus.
If caused by a virus, pinkeye gets better in 2 to 3 weeks. If caused by bacteria, antibiotics may speed up the process.
Pink Eye | HealthLink BC
Pink eye (also called conjunctivitis) is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The lining of the eye is usually clear. If irritation or infection occurs, the lining becomes red and swollen. See pictures of a normal eye and an eye with conjunctivitis.
Pink eye is very common. It usually is not serious and goes away in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment.
Most cases of pink eye are caused by:
- Infections caused by viruses or bacteria.
- Dry eyes from lack of tears or exposure to wind and sun.
- Chemicals, fumes, or smoke (chemical conjunctivitis).
Viral and bacterial pink eye are contagious and spread very easily. Since most pink eye is caused by viruses for which there is usually no medical treatment, preventing its spread is important. Poor handwashing is the main cause of the spread of pink eye. Sharing an object, such as a face cloth or towel, with a person who has pink eye can spread the infection. For more information, see Prevention.
Viral pink eye
Viral pink eye is often caused by an adenovirus, which is a common respiratory virus that can also cause a sore throat or upper respiratory infection. The herpes virus can also cause viral pink eye.
Symptoms of viral pink eye include:
- Redness in the white of the eye.
- Swelling of the eyelids.
- Itching or burning feeling of the eyelids.
- Swollen and tender areas in front of the ears.
- A lot of tearing.
- Clear or slightly thick, whitish drainage.
Viral pink eye symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days but may last up to 3 weeks and can become ongoing or chronic.
Pink eye may be more serious if you:
- Have a condition that decreases your body’s ability to fight infection (impaired immune system).
- Have vision in only one eye.
- Wear contact lenses.
If the pink eye is caused by a virus, the person can usually return to daycare, school, or work when symptoms begin to improve, typically in 3 to 5 days. Medicines are not usually used to treat viral pink eye, so it is important to prevent the spread of the infection. Pink eye caused by a herpes virus, which is rare, can be treated with an antiviral medicine. Home treatment of viral pink eye symptoms can help you feel more comfortable while the infection goes away.
Bacterial pink eye
An infection may develop when bacteria enter the eye or the area around the eye. Some common infections that cause pink eye include:
Symptoms of bacterial pink eye include:
- Redness in the white of the eye.
- Gray or yellow drainage from the eye. This drainage may cause the eyelashes to stick together.
- Mild pain.
- Swelling of the upper eyelid, which may make the lid appear to droop (pseudoptosis).
Bacterial pink eye may cause more drainage than viral pink eye. Bacterial infections usually last 7 to 10 days without antibiotic treatment and 2 to 4 days with antibiotic treatment. The person can usually return to daycare, school, or work 24 hours after an antibiotic has been started if symptoms have improved. Prescription antibiotic treatment usually kills the bacteria that cause pink eye.
Red eye is a more general term that includes not only pink eye but also many other problems that cause redness on or around the eye, not just the lining. Pink eye is the main cause of red eye. Red eye has other causes, including:
- Foreign bodies, such as metal or insects. For more information, see the topic Objects in the Eye.
- Scrapes, sores, or injury to or infection of deeper parts of the eye (for example, uveitis, iritis, or keratitis). For more information, see the topic Eye Injuries.
- Glaucoma. For more information, see the topics Eye Problems, Non-Injury and Glaucoma.
- Infection of the eye socket and areas around the eye. For more information, see the topic Eye Problems, Non-Injury.
Swollen, red eyelids may also be caused by styes, a lump called a chalazion, inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis), or lack of tears (dry eyes). For more information, see the topics Styes and Chalazia and Eyelid Problems (Blepharitis).
Check Your Symptoms
Do you think you have pink eye?
Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, which lines the eyelid and covers the surface of the eye.
How old are you?
Less than 3 months
Less than 3 months
3 months to 3 years
3 months to 3 years
4 years or older
4 years or older
Are you male or female?
Why do we ask this question?
The medical assessment of symptoms is based on the body parts you have.
- If you are transgender or non-binary, choose the sex that matches the body parts (such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina) you now have in the area where you are having symptoms.
- If your symptoms aren’t related to those organs, you can choose the gender you identify with.
- If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice (once as “male” and once as “female”). This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you.
Have you had an eye injury within the past week?
Eye injury within past week
Eye injury within past week
Do you have other eye symptoms, such as vision changes or dark specks or shadows that float across your field of vision?
Does light make your eyes hurt?
Does the light hurt so much that you have trouble opening your eyes?
Hard to open eyes because of discomfort with light
Hard to open eyes because of discomfort with light
Do you have any eye pain?
Does it feel like there is something in the eye?
This is worse than the eye feeling gritty or a little irritated. This actually may make it hard to keep the eye open.
Feels like something is in eye
Feels like something is in eye
Is it very hard or impossible to open the eye because of the discomfort?
Hard to open eye because of discomfort with feeling something in eye
Hard to open eye because of discomfort with feeling something in eye
Is there any redness in the part of the eye that’s usually white?
This does not include a blood spot on the eye.
Redness in part of eye that’s usually white
Redness in part of eye that’s usually white
Has the eye been red for more than 24 hours?
Eye red for more than 24 hours
Eye red for more than 24 hours
Do you think the eyelid or the skin around the eye may be infected?
Symptoms could include redness, pus, increasing pain, or a lot of swelling. (A small bump or pimple on the eyelid, called a stye, usually is not a problem.) You might also have a fever.
Symptoms of infection around eye
Symptoms of infection around eye
Do you think you may have a fever?
Do you have diabetes or a weakened immune system?
What weakens the immune system in an adult or older child may be different than in a young child or baby.
Diabetes or immune problem
Diabetes or immune problem
Is there any pus coming from the area around the eye (not from the eye itself)?
Pus from area around eye
Pus from area around eye
Is there any blood in the eye?
This includes blood spots on the surface of the eye.
Blood spot or blood in eye
Blood spot or blood in eye
Is there any blood in the coloured part of the eye?
Blood that is only in the white part of the eye is usually not as serious as blood in the coloured part of the eye.
Blood is in coloured part of eye
Blood is in coloured part of eye
Does the blood cover more than one-fourth of the white part of the eye?
Blood covers more than one-fourth of white of the eye
Blood covers more than one-fourth of white of the eye
Is there any new drainage from the eyes?
New drainage from eyes
Is there any pus or thick drainage coming from the eye (not from the skin around the eye)?
This does not include water or thin, watery drainage. Pus is thicker and may make the eyelids stick together.
Have you had this type of drainage for more than 24 hours?
Drainage for more than 24 hours
Drainage for more than 24 hours
Are you having a contact lens problem?
Can you remove the contact lenses?
Able to remove contact lenses
Unable to remove contact lenses
Does removing the contact lenses make the eye problem better?
Removing contact lenses helps
Removing contact lenses helps
Have you had eye problems for more than 2 weeks?
Eye problems for more than 2 weeks
Eye problems for more than 2 weeks
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
- Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker.
- Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner.
- Medicines you take. Certain medicines and natural health products can cause symptoms or make them worse.
- Recent health events, such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious.
- Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel.
Try Home Treatment
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
- Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms.
- Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect). You may need care sooner.
Symptoms of serious illness may include:
- A severe headache.
- A stiff neck.
- Mental changes, such as feeling confused or much less alert.
- Extreme fatigue (to the point where it’s hard for you to function).
- Shaking chills.
Symptoms of serious illness in a baby may include the following:
- The baby is limp and floppy like a rag doll.
- The baby doesn’t respond at all to being held, touched, or talked to.
- The baby is hard to wake up.
Pain in adults and older children
- Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that you can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep, and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain.
- Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt your normal activities and your sleep, but you can tolerate it for hours or days. Moderate can also mean pain that comes and goes even if it’s severe when it’s there.
- Mild pain (1 to 4): You notice the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt your sleep or activities.
Pain in children under 3 years
It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.
- Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or grimace.
- Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds when you try to comfort him or her.
- Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds when you try to comfort him or her.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
- Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS.
- Long-term alcohol and drug problems.
- Steroid medicines, which may be used to treat a variety of conditions.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.
- Other medicines used to treat autoimmune disease.
- Medicines taken after organ transplant.
- Not having a spleen.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in children are:
- Diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and congenital heart disease.
- Steroid medicines, which are used to treat a variety of conditions.
- Medicines taken after organ transplant.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.
- Not having a spleen.
Seek Care Now
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
- Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
- If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have one, seek care in the next hour.
- You do not need to call an ambulance unless:
- You cannot travel safely either by driving yourself or by having someone else drive you.
- You are in an area where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.
Make an Appointment
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
- Make an appointment to see your doctor in the next 1 to 2 weeks.
- If appropriate, try home treatment while you are waiting for the appointment.
- If symptoms get worse or you have any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.
Seek Care Today
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
- Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
- If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have one, seek care today.
- If it is evening, watch the symptoms and seek care in the morning.
- If the symptoms get worse, seek care sooner.
Call 911 Now
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don’t want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren’t serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Eye Problems, Non-Injury
Home treatment for pink eye will help reduce your pain and keep your eye free of drainage. If you wear contacts, remove them and wear glasses until your symptoms have gone away completely. Thoroughly clean your contacts and storage case.
Cold compresses or warm compresses (whichever feels best) can be used. If an allergy is the problem, a cool compress may feel better. If the pink eye is caused by an infection, then a warm, moist compress may soothe your eye and help reduce redness and swelling. Warm, moist compresses can spread infection from one eye to the other. Use a different compress for each eye, and use a clean compress for each application.
When cleaning your eye, wipe from the inside (next to the nose) toward the outside. Use a clean surface for each wipe so that drainage being cleaned away is not rubbed back across the eye. If tissues or wipes are used, make sure they are put in the trash and are not allowed to sit around. If face cloths are used to clean the eye, put them in the laundry right away so that no one else picks them up or uses them. After wiping your eye, wash your hands to prevent the pink eye from spreading.
After pink eye has been diagnosed:
- To learn how to prevent the spread of pink eye, see Prevention.
- Do not go to daycare or school or go to work until pink eye has improved.
- If the pink eye is caused by a virus, the person can usually return to daycare, school, or work when symptoms begin to improve, typically in 3 to 5 days. Medicines are not usually used to treat viral pink eye, so preventing its spread is important. Home treatment of the symptoms will help you feel more comfortable while the infection goes away.
- If the pink eye is caused by bacteria, the person can usually return to daycare, school, or work after the infection has been treated for 24 hours with an antibiotic and symptoms are improving. Prescription antibiotic treatment usually kills the bacteria that cause pink eye.
- Use medicine as directed. Medicine may include eyedrops and eye ointment.
For pink eye related to allergies, antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), may help relieve your symptoms. Don’t give antihistamines to your child unless you’ve checked with the doctor first.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
If you wear contacts, be sure to remove your contacts when your eye problem starts.
Pink eye is spread through contact with the eye drainage, which contains the virus or bacteria that caused the pink eye. Touching an infected eye leaves drainage on your hand. If you touch your other eye or an object when you have drainage on your hand, the virus or bacteria can be spread.
The following tips help prevent the spread of pink eye.
- Wash your hands before and after:
- Touching the eyes or face.
- Using medicine in the eyes.
- Do not share eye makeup.
- Do not use eye makeup until the infection is fully cured, because you could reinfect yourself with the eye makeup products. If your eye infection was caused by bacteria or a virus, throw away your old makeup and buy new products.
- Do not share contact lens equipment, containers, or solutions.
- Do not wear contact lenses until the infection is cured. Thoroughly clean your contacts before wearing them again.
- Do not share eye medicine.
- Do not share towels, linens, pillows, or handkerchiefs. Use clean linens, towels, and face cloths daily.
- Wash your hands and wear gloves if you are looking into someone else’s eye for a foreign object or helping someone else apply an eye medicine.
- When in the wind, heat, or cold, wear eye protection to prevent eye irritation.
- Wear safety glasses when working with chemicals.
Preparing For Your Appointment
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
- What are your main symptoms?
- How long have you had your symptoms?
- Have you had any vision changes, increased pain in the eye, or increased sensitivity to light?
- Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what caused the problem at the time? How was it treated?
- Do you wear contact lenses or eyeglasses?
- Does anyone in your family or at your workplace have signs of an eye infection, such as drainage from the eye or red and swollen eyes?
- Have you been exposed to fumes or chemicals?
- What home treatment measures have you tried? Did they help?
- What prescription or non-prescription medicines have you tried? Did they help?
- Do you have any health risks?
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) | AOA
Causes & risk factors
There are three main types of conjunctivitis: allergic, infectious and chemical. The cause of conjunctivitis varies depending on the type.
- Allergic conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies. They develop it when they come into contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in their eyes.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a type of allergic conjunctivitis caused by the chronic presence of a foreign body in the eye. People who wear hard or rigid contact lenses, wear soft contact lenses that are not replaced frequently, have an exposed suture on the surface of the eye or have a prosthetic eye are more likely to develop this form of conjunctivitis.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection most often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria from your own skin or respiratory system. Insects, physical contact with other people, poor hygiene (touching the eye with unclean hands), or using contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions can also cause the infection. Sharing makeup and wearing contact lenses that are not your own or are improperly cleaned can also cause bacterial conjunctivitis.
- Viral conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by contagious viruses associated with the common cold. It can develop through exposure to the coughing or sneezing of someone with an upper respiratory tract infection. Viral conjunctivitis can also occur as the virus spreads along the body’s own mucous membranes, which connect the lungs, throat, nose, tear ducts and conjunctiva. Since the tears drain into the nasal passageway, forceful nose blowing can cause a virus to move from your respiratory system to your eyes.
- Ophthalmia neonatorum is a severe form of bacterial conjunctivitis that occurs in newborn babies. This is a serious condition that could lead to permanent eye damage if it is not treated immediately. Ophthalmia neonatorum occurs when an infant is exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea while passing through the birth canal. For several years, U.S. delivery rooms have applied antibiotic ointment to babies’ eyes as a standard prophylactic treatment.
Chemical Conjunctivitis can be caused by irritants like air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and exposure to noxious chemicals.
Symptoms vary with the causes discussed above. Allergic symptoms include clear, watery discharge along with mild redness. Itching, sometimes severe, may or may not occur. With bacterial infections, there is typically minimal pain but a possibly dramatic appearance with moderate redness and almost always a yellow/green discharge, sometimes extreme. This discharge can also make the eyelids red and swollen and can attach itself to the eyelashes for a crusty appearance.
Bacterial infections can be more severe in patients that wear contact lenses. There is also a risk of a bacterial corneal ulcer developing in contact lens wearers which would include severe pain and light sensitivity. Viral infections can also cause moderate redness and are usually painful. The pain is typically a sandy, gritty feel like something may be in the eye. There can also be a moderate to severe light sensitivity.
Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on the conjunctiva and surrounding tissues, may include:
- Patient history to determine the symptoms, when the symptoms began, and whether any general health or environmental conditions are contributing to the problem.
- Visual acuity measurements to determine whether vision has been affected.
- Evaluation of the conjunctiva and external eye tissue using bright light and magnification.
- Evaluation of the inner structures of the eye to ensure that no other tissues are affected by the condition.
- Supplemental testing, which may include taking cultures or smears of conjunctival tissue. This is particularly important in cases of chronic conjunctivitis or when the condition is not responding to treatment.
Using the information obtained from these tests, a doctor of optometry can determine if you have conjunctivitis and provide treatment options.
Treating conjunctivitis has three main goals:
- Increase patient comfort.
- Reduce or lessen the course of the infection or inflammation.
- Prevent the spread of the infection in contagious forms of conjunctivitis.
The appropriate treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause.
The first step is to remove or avoid the irritant, if possible. Cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. People with persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid eye drops. Oral antihistamines may also be prescribed.
This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments. Bacterial conjunctivitis may improve after three or four days of treatment, but patients need to take the entire course of antibiotics to prevent a recurrence. Viral conjunctivitis. No drops or ointments can treat viral conjunctivitis. Antibiotics will not cure a viral infection. Like a common cold, the virus has to run its course, which may take up to two or three weeks. Symptoms can often be relieved with cool compresses and artificial tear solutions. For the worst cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce the discomfort from inflammation. However, these drops will not shorten the infection. The viral infection Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is very contagious and is the red-eye most associated with the term “pink eye”.
Careful flushing of the eyes with saline is a standard treatment for chemical conjunctivitis. People with chemical conjunctivitis also may need to use topical steroids. Severe chemical injuries, particularly alkali burns, are medical emergencies and can lead to scarring, damage to the eye or the sight, or even loss of the eye. If a chemical spills in your eye, flush the eye for several minutes with a lot of water before seeing your medical provider.
Contact lens wearers may need to temporarily stop wearing their lenses while the condition is active. If conjunctivitis is due to wearing contact lenses, a doctor of optometry may recommend switching to a different type of contact lens or disinfection solution. A doctor of optometry might need to change the contact lens prescription to a lens that is replaced more frequently. This can help prevent conjunctivitis from recurring.
Practicing good hygiene is the best way to control the spread of conjunctivitis. Once an infection has been diagnosed, follow these steps:
- Don’t touch your eyes with your hands.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
- Change your towel and washcloth daily, and don’t share them with others.
- Discard eye cosmetics, particularly mascara.
- Don’t use anyone else’s eye cosmetics or personal eye-care items.
- Follow your eye doctor’s instructions on proper contact lens care.
Soothe the discomfort of viral or bacterial conjunctivitis by applying warm compresses to your affected eye or eyes. To make a compress, soak a clean cloth in warm water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids. For allergic conjunctivitis, avoid rubbing the eyes. Instead of warm compresses, use cool compresses to soothe your eyes. Over-the-counter eye drops might also help. Antihistamine eye drops can alleviate the symptoms, and lubricating eye drops can rinse the allergen off the surface of the eye. See your doctor of optometry if you think you have conjunctivitis. He or she can diagnose the cause and prescribe the proper treatment.
With so many causes, there is no one preventive measure. Early diagnosis and treatment will help prevent the condition from becoming worse. Avoiding allergy triggers as much as possible also helps. Frequent hand washing and keeping hands away from eyes also can make a difference, even when no problems are present.
Are you contagious and for how long?
By Autumn Sprabary; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD
Learning you have pink eye is never a pleasant discovery. Whether you realize the gritty feeling in your eye is more than just a fleeting irritation, or you wake up with your eyes crusted shut, the reaction is the same: Now what?
Depending on the type of conjunctivitis you have, your symptoms may be contagious. But how do you know if your conjunctivitis is contagious and, if it is, for how long?
Listed below are details on the types of pink eye that are contagious, how the infection spreads and how long it typically lasts. So, take that cold compress off your peepers, apply some eye drops and let’s get started.
Is pink eye contagious?
Yes, viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis are as contagious as the common cold. However, allergic conjunctivitis, which is caused by an allergic reaction, is not contagious.
In the case of viral conjunctivitis (also called pink eye), the condition can be contagious even before symptoms of conjunctivitis appear in an infected person.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most viruses that cause conjunctivitis are spread through hand-to-eye contact after touching objects that are contaminated with the infectious virus. So you can “catch” viral pink eye even if no one else in the same environment — such as a school classroom — has symptoms.
Viral pink eye is contagious as long as someone shows signs and symptoms and can remain contagious for weeks after symptoms first appear, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The incubation period of bacterial conjunctivitis — the time from when a person is exposed to conjunctivitis to the time they start showing symptoms — is anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. During this time, they are not contagious. Once symptoms emerge, the individual is considered extremely contagious until symptoms are no longer present.
How long does pink eye last?
Pink eye is no longer contagious when your eyes look and feel normal again. How long it takes for this to happen depends on what caused the pink eye to begin with. Typically, conjunctivitis symptoms last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Like many viral infections, pink eye cannot be treated directly and must run its course. Symptoms are usually at their worst between three and five days after the infection begins.
In cases of viral conjunctivitis, you can use artificial tears and cold compresses to help relieve itching and inflammation until the pink eye clears up. If no complications occur, your eyes should improve within a few days, but symptoms could last up to two weeks. Some natural remedies for pink eye might help relieve your symptoms; however, you should always consult your eye doctor before trying them.
Typically, bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with prescription antibiotic eye drops, but even with treatment, it can last up to a month or longer. Luckily, with this type of conjunctivitis, people are no longer contagious after 24 hours of beginning antibiotic treatment.
When dealing with allergic conjunctivitis, reactions to allergens such as dust, pollen and pet dander can last indefinitely, depending on the time of year and your exposure to the source of the reaction. As long as you’re exposed to triggering allergens, your allergic conjunctivitis will likely stick around.
Until you’re able to remove the source of your allergic conjunctivitis, applying eye drops with an antihistamine can calm your eye allergies. Allergy eye drops can be purchased over the counter or with a prescription from your eye doctor.
If your conjunctivitis symptoms last longer than four weeks and include hot, swollen eyelids, you should see your eye doctor, as it’s possible that you have chronic conjunctivitis.
SEE RELATED: Pink eye stages
How does pink eye spread?
Two contagious types of conjunctivitis — bacterial and viral — are spread in multiple and very similar ways. The simplest way to explain the cause of conjunctivitis is through contact with already infected things.
For bacterial conjunctivitis, these “things” can be characterized as another person with conjunctivitis or a contaminated object that you touch with your hands and then touch your eyes and/or face. It’s also possible to expose yourself to conjunctivitis by having the contaminated object in or near your eyes (contact lenses, eyeglasses, etc.).
Respiratory droplets are another culprit for spreading conjunctivitis because of the bacteria or viruses they may contain. Your eyes have a microbiome, or stable environment, where they utilize their own bacteria to keep things balanced. When a different type of bacteria enters the eye, it can throw off the balance and cause the eye to react with symptoms of conjunctivitis.
Similar to bacterial conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) is passed through respiratory droplets and infected objects — mainly your fingers or hands — being in or near your eyes. Typically, viral conjunctivitis is caused by contaminants commonly found on hands, including eye and respiratory discharge, infectious tears and fecal matter.
The best way to avoid the spread of pink eye is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water. Practicing proper hygiene is critical for the health of your eyes and your overall well-being.
READ MORE: Home remedies for pink eye
Page published in August 2020
Page updated in September 2021
90,000 how it is formed and why
- How eye color develops
- Change in eye color
Eye color is often a genetic characteristic and a subject of parental expectations during fetal development. Will the baby’s eyes be black, hazel, blue, gray, green, marsh, or some color combination?
How a child looks depends on the genetic material passed down from each parent.But parental genes can mix and match in different ways. The influence of each parent is unknown until the birth of the child.
How eye color is formed
The colored part of the eye is called the iris, which contains the pigments that determine the color of the eyes.
Human eye color has been associated with three genes, two of which are well understood. These genes are responsible for the most common colors: green, brown and blue. Other colors – gray, marsh, and multiple combinations – are currently not fully understood or explicable.
At one time, brown eye color was considered “dominant”, and blue eye color was considered a “recessive” sign. But modern science has shown that more complex mechanisms are involved in the formation of eye color.
Eye color is not just a combination of parental eye colors, as when mixing paints. Each parent has two pairs of genes on each chromosome, and there are numerous possibilities for how this genetic information will affect eye color.
In addition, eye color may change at an early age.
Most Caucasian children are born with blue eyes, which can darken in the first three years of life. Darkening occurs when melanin, a brown pigment that is usually absent at birth, is produced with age.
Children’s eye color can be completely different from that of each parent. But if both parents have brown eyes, then it is more likely that their children will also have brown eyes.
Dark colors tend to dominate; in particular, brown tends to dominate green and green tends to dominate blue.
However, if one of the parents has brown eyes and the other has blue eyes, this does not mean that their children will automatically have brown eyes.
In some babies, the irises of the eyes differ in color at birth. Typically, this condition – called heterochromia – is caused by a pigment transport error during child development, local trauma in the womb or shortly after birth, or a benign genetic disorder.
Other causes include inflammation, freckle (diffuse nevus) of the iris, and Horner’s syndrome.
If your eyes are of an unusual color, do not delay visiting an optometrist.
WORRY ABOUT YOUR EYE OR VISION COLOR? Find an optometrist nearby and make an appointment.
Eye color changes
The iris is a muscle that expands and contracts to control pupil size. The pupil enlarges in dimmer light and constricts in brighter light. The pupil also narrows when you focus on close objects, such as reading a book.
When the size of the pupil changes, the pigments in the iris move closer or further apart, slightly changing the color of the eyes.
Certain emotions can also alter both the size of the pupil and the color of the iris. This is why some people say their eyes change colors when they are angry or show love.
Eye color can also change with age. This occurs in 10-15 percent of Caucasians (people who usually have lighter eyes).
For example, my eyes were once brown, but now they are swampy (a combination of brown and green). Although some people have marsh-colored eyes darken with age.
If your eye color changes quite dramatically in adulthood, or if the color of one eye changes from brown to green or from blue to brown, you should consult an optometrist.
Changes in eye color can be a warning sign of certain diseases, such as Fuchs heterochromic iridocyclitis, Horner’s syndrome or pigmentary glaucoma.
WORRY ABOUT YOUR EYE OR VISION COLOR? Find an optometrist nearby.
Page published in November 2020
Page updated November 2020
90,000 Causes of eye redness, how to choose eye drops for redness.
- Brief information
- What to do
What is eye redness?
Eye redness (or red eyes) is a condition in which the white of the eye (the sclera) turns red or “bloodshot.””
The appearance of a red eye can vary greatly. It may appear as if there are several short pink or red lines on the sclera, or the entire sclera may appear diffuse pink or red.
Redness may appear on one or both eyes and may be associated with several symptoms such as:
In some cases, bloodshot eyes may show no symptoms other than redness.
Red or bloodshot eyes are very common and can be caused by various causes.Redness of the eyes
is usually a symptom of other eye conditions that may be benign or
What causes eye redness?
Eye redness is caused by the expansion of tiny blood vessels located between the sclera and the overlying transparent conjunctiva of the eye. These tiny blood vessels (many of which are usually invisible) can swell for environmental or lifestyle reasons, or specific eye problems.
Eye redness is commonly caused by allergies, eye fatigue, over-wearing contact lenses, or common eye infections such as conjunctivitis. However, eye redness can sometimes signal a more serious eye condition or condition, such as uveitis or glaucoma.
Eye redness occurs when the blood vessels on the surface of the eye dilate.
Environmental causes of reddened, bloodshot eyes:
Airborne allergens (causing eye allergies)
Smoke (fire, secondhand smoke, etc.)
Dry air (arid climate, aircraft cabin, office space, etc.)
Airborne vapors (gasoline, solvents, etc.)
Exposure to chemicals (chlorine in swimming pools, etc.)
Excessive exposure to sunlight (without UV blocking sunglasses)
Common eye conditions that cause eye redness include:
Serious eye conditions that cause eye redness include:
Injury or damage to the eye
Recent eye surgery (LASIK , cosmetic surgery on the eyes, etc.
Lifestyle factors can also contribute to the risk of eye redness. For example, smoking (tobacco or marijuana) can definitely cause red eyes, as can heavy drinking. Continuous use of digital devices and insufficient sleep are other lifestyle-related causes of eye redness.
How to treat reddened eyes
Since redness of the eyes can be caused by various reasons (some of them are serious and require immediate attention), if you have reddened, bloodshot eyes, you should see an optometrist immediately – especially if the redness appears suddenly and associated with discomfort or blurred vision.
If there is currently no optometrist nearby, click here to find an optometrist nearby.
Also, consult an optometrist before using eye drops for “discoloration of red eyes”.These drops may contain vasoconstrictor drugs that constrict blood vessels. The narrowing of the blood vessels in the sclera will make your eyes look whiter, but if you use drops to bleach red eyes frequently over a period of time, you may need to use them more often to avoid redness of the eyes. If you stop using the drops, the redness of your eyes may worsen.
To determine the best and safest way to treat red eyes, see your optometrist to determine the cause of your bloody eyes and to find out the most effective treatment options.
Before visiting an optometrist, remove contact lenses (if you are wearing them) and put on glasses instead. And bring them with you to your appointment so that the optometrist can determine if contact lenses are causing your eyes to redden.
You can also frequently moisturize your eyes with preservative-free lubricating eye drops before visiting an ophthalmologist.
Page published in November 2020
Page updated March 2021
90,000 uniqueness or pathology? – eye clinic “MEDINVEST”
Every girl dreams of possessing such an external distinctive feature.But few can have chameleon eyes. In ancient times, chameleons were a sign of danger. It was believed that their carriers had a connection with otherworldly forces. Today, people are willing to pay for cosmetic changes in the color of the iris. Using tinted contact lenses and even resorting to artificial iris implantation.
Normal to Atypical
Without delving into the Bunak scale, they highlight the typical eye colors: black, brown, green, gray and blue.The pigment melanin is responsible for the color saturation. The more accumulated pigment, the darker the eyes. Black and brown eyes are practically unable to undergo color transformation. These are the strongest shades in existence. They have a dominant gene that suppresses all other colors. Gray eyes are most susceptible to change. Eyes that change the color of the iris are called chameleons. They got the name by analogy with a reptile, which has the ability to disguise itself to change color.
About the reasons
The nature of the phenomenon has not been studied to the extent that a unanimous conclusion can be drawn.Scientists believe that the shade of the iris changes under the influence of the nervous and endocrine systems.
It has been observed that the eyes change color depending on the time of day, lighting, clothing and mood. Chameleons can change shade from light to dark and vice versa within the same day. The color changes simultaneously in both eyes.
Chameleon eyes are unique and not pathological. However, an uncharacteristic, persistent change in the color of the eyes (or one eye) may indicate it.
When to see a doctor
A change in the color of the iris of the eye may indicate the development of diseases of the organ of vision. If gray and blue irises have acquired a yellow-green or dirty green hue, and brown – brown-rusty, these are symptoms of inflammatory diseases (iritis, iridocyclitis).
When a color change occurs due to vascular hyperemia and a violation of the permeability of the vascular wall.
With siderosis, the iris becomes rusty, i.e.because it is impregnated with iron oxides from a shard inside the eye.
There is a condition in which one person’s irises differ in color (heterochromia).
An ophthalmologist at the Medinvest Eye Clinic will help you distinguish between the norm and the deviation. If the eye color changes, painful sensations, decreased visual acuity, contact “Medinvest” for professional eye diagnostics.
Fill out the application form on the website or make an appointment at the number: +7 (351) 220-15-05
what is the reason and what to do
Contact aids for vision correction are strongly associated with comfort and freedom of movement, so if something is wrong with them, it is especially perceived.The most common inconvenience is red eyes after lenses. Redness is of varying severity and at first it is easy not to pay attention to them. However, if the symptom is repeated many times, it definitely cannot be ignored.
Red eyes from lenses: causes of
A one-off inconvenience may not be a cause for concern. Something horrible, overworked, slight irritation – at least once this happened to everyone. But if, after the lenses, the eyes are red and sore, it is worth analyzing the probable causes of this phenomenon.
Most often this is due to a violation of the wearing rules or related factors, for example:
- insufficient oxygen permeability of the material of your lenses
- microdamages in the material can scratch and irritate the mucous membrane;
- protein deposits and other impurities lead to discomfort;
- lack of hygiene, for example, if you scratch your face with dirty hands, entail the ingress of harmful microorganisms;
- allergic reactions, including to a new solution;
- exceeding the permissible wearing time;
- overdrying of the mucous membrane due to insufficient moisture.
There may be several answers to the question of why red eyes after lenses. Depending on the cause, the ways to eliminate the discomfort will also differ. But the first steps on the recommendations of ophthalmologists remain practically unchanged.
What to do if after the lenses red eyes
The first and most obvious answer is to see a doctor. However, most often it is rather difficult to do this right away, so you need to take some measures yourself.First, try to figure out why the eyes are red from the lenses. To do this, pay attention to the following factors and analyze which situation is close to yours.
Red eyes when wearing lenses after changing them
Most likely, you have chosen the wrong vision correction tool. New lenses may not suit you in terms of parameters or some of your physiological characteristics.
Solution : Stop wearing, see an ophthalmologist for new lenses.
Red eyes after contact lenses that you have worn for a long time
Excluding the option in which this brand simply does not suit you, we pay attention to the expiration date. If they are intended to be worn for a long time, polymer damage may have occurred due to improper or careless care. Insufficient cleaning may also be the reason, as a result of which protein deposits or other contaminants remain.
Solution : Thoroughly rinse the lenses with the lens solution and inspect them for damage.If the situation repeats despite the visual integrity of the lens, you may simply not be able to see the damage.
One eye is red after removing the lenses, the other is normal
Both physical damage and the ingress of harmful bacteria or viruses can cause redness. For example, you scratched your face without noticing it, or you got a speck of dust.
Solution : Rinse eyes, carefully clean the optics and storage container.
Fell asleep in lenses, red eyes
In case of violation of the mode of wearing contact lenses, such a problem often arises. If the lenses are not designed for prolonged use (and sometimes it happens to those that are intended), there is a high probability of lens shift or overdrying.
Solution : Rinse and drip eyes, let them rest without lenses, temporarily wear glasses.
Very red eyes after lenses when changing solution
Allergic reactions or irritations from changing care products are rare, but they can also cause redness.Poor quality of the composition, expired shelf life or simply individual intolerance can cause discomfort.
Solution : change the solution, thoroughly rinse the mucous membrane and lenses with a new composition.
Monitor its quality and the reaction of your mucous membrane.
Dryness of the mucous membrane is a common problem when wearing contact correctors. Due to insufficient moisture and oxygen starvation of the cornea, discomfort, blurred vision occurs.The modern solution is a new generation of lenses with a high moisture content and oxygen permeability. For example, some hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses. And when wearing lenses with a longer replacement period, it is important not to forget to supplement the care with moisturizing drops.
How to treat red eyes after lenses
Regardless of the reason, and especially if it is not clear at first, the following steps must be taken:
- remove the lenses and rinse the mucous membrane
- apply moisturizing drops, preferably those that contain hyaluronic acid, vitamin B12
- wash the lenses, change their storage container
- carry out a visual inspection for damage
- give your eyes a rest, temporarily switch to wearing glasses
- for recurring symptoms, consult a specialist.
Now you know what to do if you notice red from the lens of the eye. Subject to the above points, this should not be a problem. However, if there are other symptoms, for example, itching, watery or sore eyes, and / or the symptoms do not go away with the first measures taken, this is a mandatory reason to consult an ophthalmologist. Since the consequences of infections or serious injuries can only be cured by a qualified specialist.
To get rid of the irritation of the mucous membrane, there is a large arsenal of tools.You’ve probably used some of them to relieve fatigue and discomfort after prolonged lens wear. If you have red eyes after your lenses, the drops you use should have 2 main functions:
- anti-inflammatory – it is important to soothe irritated eyes, since a favorable environment is formed on such a mucous membrane;
- moisturizing – since redness is often associated with dryness, it is important to eliminate this factor as well.
The combination of these properties in eye drops will lead to the desired result: the mucous membrane will calm down, the redness will pass. With good hydration, there will be no reason for discomfort. If the symptoms are provoked by mechanical damage, such care will promote the speedy healing of the cornea.
Remember that many contact optics users periodically encounter a similar problem. Ophthalmologists often hear the complaint “when I take off my lenses – the eye is red” and strongly recommend not to neglect your health, taking measures in time.In most cases, elementary actions are enough, but if you do not pay attention, there is a high probability that non-serious symptoms will develop into a disease.
Now you have an answer to the question of what to do if your eyes are red after the lenses. Follow the simple rules for wearing modern vision correction tools and be healthy!
If you experience any adverse symptoms while wearing your lenses, notify your ophthalmologist immediately.
For long-term, safe and comfortable lens use, follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions every time you remove your lenses.
Where does “sleep” in the eyes after sleep come from and what is it for
- Jason G. Goldman
- BBC Future
Photo author, Thinkstock
While we sleep, in the corners of our eyes gathers … what?
During sleep, some kind of filth accumulates in our eyes. Not everyone knows what it is. As the correspondent found out
BBC Future , this substance performs a much more important function than it might seem at first glance.
First thing, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I go through the long list of notifications that have silently accumulated on my phone while I slept. The second thing I do is wipe the stuff that has quietly gathered in the corners of my eyes during the night. Whatever you call it – “sleep”, “sand”, “scops”, “tears”, “croutons” or “bugs” – you know what I’m talking about. I was constantly interested in the question of what this substance consists of and why it is formed. So I finally pulled myself together and found out.
It all starts with tears, or rather, with a tear film that envelops our eyes. The eyes of land mammals, wherever they are – on the faces of humans or the muzzles of dogs, hedgehogs or elephants – are covered with a three-layer tear film that allows the eyes to function properly. (In marine mammals such as dolphins or sea lions, tears function somewhat differently.)
Closest to the eye is the layer of hycocalyx or polysaccharides, which consists mainly of mucus and is called the mucin layer.It coats the cornea of the eye and binds and retains moisture, which ensures an even distribution of the second layer – a water-based tear solution. The second is only a few micrometers thick, but it is very important. This layer, containing, in particular, immunoglobulins, provides constant moisture to the eyes, nourishes them with oxygen, removes dead cells and washes away all types of potential infections. Finally, there is also an outer layer of oily substance called meibuma.It contains products of the meibomian glands of the eyelids – lipids, i.e. fatty acids as well as cholesterol. The outer layer of the lacrimal membrane is called lipid.
Photo author, Thinkstock
The eyes of land mammals are covered with a three-layer tear film
Meibum in the process of evolution has become an integral part of the mammalian organism. At normal human body temperature, it is a clear oily liquid. As soon as the temperature drops by only one degree, and this liquid turns into a waxy substance – the familiar dried eye mucus.
Large flakes of this substance can form during sleep for a number of reasons. First, the body temperature always drops at night, so that some of the lipid fluid is cooled to such an extent that it thickens. Second, as Australian ophthalmologist Robert Linton and colleagues write, “sleep weakens the muscular effect on the channels of the meibomian glands. This is enough to cause excess secretion on the eyelids and eyelashes during sleep.” In other words, our eyes are covered with more lipids at night than during wakefulness during the day, so when the secretions of the meibomian glands cool, a noticeable amount of dried eye mucus is formed.
Of course, this is not such a significant inconvenience – to erase “sleep” from the eyes upon awakening, but why, after all, does our body secrete this very secret of the meibomian glands? Well, on the one hand, it prevents tears from constantly dripping from your eyes and rolling down your cheeks. Any ordinary business becomes difficult when it constantly flows from the eyes. Some people with hay fever can attest to this. By keeping tears in the eyes, the secretion of the meibomian glands does something different – it keeps the eyes moist.One study found that the eyes of rabbits lacking meibum lost moisture 17 times faster than normal.
Photo author, Thinkstock
Meibomian glands prevent our eyes from drying out
The secretion of the meibomian glands is not the only factor that prevents the surface of the eyeball from drying out. Blinking is also essential. The fact is that when we blink, we “milk” the meibomian glands of the eyes. Thus, additional doses of meibum are injected in addition to the constant and even secretion of this substance.By blinking, the oily secretion of the meibomian glands and the water contained in the tears mix and form an emulsion known as a tear film. If you do not blink for a long time, the emulsion separates into its component parts (oil and water do not mix very readily) – and the cornea of the eye is unprotected from direct contact with air. This is inconvenient at best. In the worst case, chronic damage to the tear film can cause dry eye. The scientific name for this disease is keratoconjunctivitis dry (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, KCS ).
Japanese ophthalmologist Eiki Goto called dry eye syndrome “a severe tear deficiency disorder that affects millions of people around the world.” In addition to dryness, this disorder causes eye fatigue, redness, burning, and a feeling of heaviness. In its most acute, albeit rather rare form, dry eye syndrome results in visual impairment. Despite the inconveniences associated with this condition, historically, this syndrome has not been considered a serious disorder.
Photo author, Thinkstock
Sometimes even frequent blinking does not help …
Goto, however, does not share this opinion. Using the most sophisticated methods of testing visual acuity, he found that the surface of the eye loses its smoothness if its liquid membrane dries out. Optical aberrations or distortions in the appearance of objects perceived by the human visual system are becoming more commonplace, since light is more scattered on an uneven surface, which makes it difficult to form a clear visual image on the retina.
This probably explains another of Goto’s discoveries. He noticed that dry eye patients tend to blink twice as often as people with normal hydration. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they are unwittingly trying to maintain visual acuity.
You might think this is a simple solution to dry eye: just blink as often as possible. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is easier said than done.Many daily tasks such as reading, driving a car, typing on a smartphone, and working on a computer monitor push us to watch without blinking. As a result of this activity, we reflexively begin to blink less often.
For example, when we drive a car, especially at speeds over 100 km / h, we blink less often. For dry eye patients, this means that their functional visual acuity at high speeds falls below the minimum required to obtain a driver’s license.
Photo author, Thinkstock
Dry eye syndrome is an extremely unpleasant disorder
In another study, Goto found that the average functional visual acuity in people with dry eye syndrome is 0.3. This is below the 0.7, which allows driving in Japan, and 0.5, which allows you to get a license in the United States. “This could mean that actual visual acuity while driving may be inadequate in certain patient populations,” Goto wrote.
So the next time you wake up and start cleaning your eyes from the nasty stuff that has accumulated in them overnight, you will probably think for a minute about how important this substance really is to you.
ophthalmology // Eye treatment at the highest level
It often happens that the eyes are red and watery. Conjunctivitis is usually the cause of these symptoms. However, other, more serious eye diseases can have similar symptoms. Let’s consider what the causes of red eyes can be.
The cause of red eyes is conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis. Redness of the conjunctiva leads to hyperemia of the superficial vessels. Conjunctivitis can be caused by infection, allergies, chemotherapy, dry eye syndrome. At the same time, lacrimation decreases. Conjunctivitis may be accompanied by itching, burning sensation with a foreign body feeling. Discharge is often present, as well as the formation of a dry crust on the eyelids during sleep. In general, it does not affect vision. If conjunctivitis occurs in a newborn, chlamydia (usually at 3 weeks of age) may be the cause of these symptoms.
Viral conjunctivitis – the so-called “pink eye”, caused by adenoviruses. Red eyes watery – acute redness, watery discharge with a feeling of “foreign body”. It can last up to 2 weeks. Antibiotic treatment is ineffective and not indicated.
Bacterial conjunctivitis – the eyes quickly turn red with massive yellow-green discharge. Most often caused by Staphylococci spp., Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus spp.
Allergic conjunctivitis . There is often a history of atopic symptoms such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, or eczema. The eyes are red and watery, itchy eyes, no pus, but fibrous mucous discharge can be seen. Conjunctival edema may also be noted. Usually observed during adolescence, it may be seasonal or annual. Systemic treatment with antihistamines is prescribed, especially if there are signs of other allergic manifestations in the patient.
Cause of red eyes – irit .Symptoms of iritis: photophobia, swelling of the eyelids around the deep ciliary vessels at the edges. Pupils are small in size, weakly reactive due to inflammation, a decrease in vision at a distance is possible. Using a local anesthetic will not relieve pain. The most common occurrence of iritis occurs after an eye injury, but the history should include questions about the presence of collagen and autoimmune diseases. Diseases often associated with iritis are ankylosing spondylitis, sarcoidosis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, Wegener’s granulomatosis, brucellosis, leptospirosis, Becker’s syndrome… If diagnosed, corticosteroids may be indicated to suppress the inflammatory response, but patients should be seen by an ophthalmologist.
Cause of red eyes – acute glaucoma . Acute glaucoma is a critical eye condition that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment, caused by the closure of an already narrowed anterior chamber angle. It is more common in the elderly (the lenses are physiologically enlarged). Typical symptoms: a significant decrease in visual acuity with loss of peripheral visual fields, orbital and headache, dilated fixed pupils, red eyes, “cloudy pupils” and increased intraocular pressure.The condition is provoked by being in the dark (the pupil dilates), stress and certain medications (for example, sympathomimetics or anticholinergics). Acute glaucoma can also present with abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. The diagnosis is clinical along with the demonstration of increased intraocular pressure. The patient should be sedated, provided with an adequate analgesic, and an ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately. Radical treatment requires laser iridotomy or peripheral iridectomy.
The cause of red eyes is corneal erosion . It is a localized loss of corneal epithelium that is typically caused by foreign bodies, nails, or contact lenses (i.e., direct trauma). Symptoms are watery red eyes, sudden pain, and a foreign body sensation in the eye, which can be relieved by the use of local anesthetics. Vascular hyperemia, photophobia and tears may be associated. Diagnosis is by fluorescein staining. Patients must be consulted with an ophthalmologist.
Subconjunctival hemorrhage . The area of redness is sharply delineated as a result of the breakthrough of small subconjunctival vessels. Hemorrhages can occur due to trauma, hemorrhagic diathesis, coughing, vomiting, exertion (as during bowel movements) or viral hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (adenovirus, enterovirus, Coxsackie virus). Excessive rubbing or rubbing of dry eyes also contributes to this. The course of subconjunctival hemorrhage is self-limiting and does not require any treatment.The presence of blood in the anterior chamber indicates a hyphema and requires ophthalmic intervention.
Increased thyroid function . Hyperthyroidism can cause redness of the conjunctiva, as a result of which the eyes turn red, a feeling of dryness, photophobia appears …
In all cases, patients need to consult an ophthalmologist to prescribe adequate therapy. Self-medication can be dangerous.
Breastfeeding / Breastfeeding / Useful information / Children’s polyclinic / Subdivisions of KDMC
Mommy, your milk is always what I want: it is filled with the scent of spring herbs, then it is sweet as honey, then it is light like dew, then it is enveloping like white clouds. How many times did it heal me and I became strong again, or enveloped me in sweet slumber when I was very tired.At your chest I heard the singing of a lark high in the sky, and the whisper of leaves in a birch grove, and the autumn rain outside the window, and the ringing of waxwings on a winter day.
Even after many years I will remember it, we will remember it …
Published in the special issue of the magazine “Liza. My Child” special issue 01/2016
Many mothers, expecting their first baby, seriously think about how the childbirth will take place, and less often think about how they will feed the baby. Meanwhile, childbirth is a very short period of time, and the rest of the time of life with the baby will be devoted to building relationships with him through GW.
Some mothers-to-be have doubts about whether they should breastfeed at all.
Let’s look at their assumptions first:
- Does GW spoil the shape of the breast?
Breast shape changes during pregnancy. On the contrary, when feeding for more than a year and gradual weaning from the breast, the breast acquires an almost “pre-pregnant” shape. Studies have shown that smoking has a greater effect on breast shape than breastfeeding.
- Will it be impossible to leave the child?
The first 3 months are possible short (1-1.5 hours) parting with the child, from 3 months of absence may be longer, after 9 months the mother can go out to work full time, leaving the baby expressed milk.
- If the mother gets nervous or gets very tired, does the milk “burn out” or becomes bad for the baby?
There are no conditions in the mammary gland for milk to “burn out”. When breastfeeding a woman, endorphins are released into the bloodstream and HV helps her to endure stress more easily and is the best prevention of depression. And the child himself calms down at the breast, even if before that he sees the unusual behavior of the mother.
- Is the formula practically the same as breast milk?
In order for women to have such a doubt, manufacturers of infant formula tried hard, investing millions of dollars in advertising and bribes.
Let’s look at some of the differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding:
free of charge
about 100 tr. in the first year of a child’s life. If hypoallergenic mixtures are required, then about 240 tr.
Amount of substances
Antibodies against diseases
Growth factors for intestinal maturation
Effect from application
normal ripening of the gastrointestinal tract, normal formation of the immune system
constipation, diarrhea, increased risk of many diseases: allergies, gastrointestinal problems, various infections, diabetes, etc.
easily digestible whey
hard-to-digest casein clots
Change in composition
adjusts to the needs of the baby (varies depending on the season, time of day, baby’s age, etc.)
the composition is the same for all children
Vitamins and minerals
easy to digest
no need to cook
, you need to go to stores, sterilize the bottle, dilute the mixture with water, etc.
|90,008 cases of infection with salmonella, radioactive particles, etc.|
Emotional connection between mother and child
And this list of differences can be continued.
Imagine, can a baby bottle with the formula replace the happy minutes at the mother’s breast?
- GW – Only for a select few?
With information and assistance, virtually any woman can breastfeed successfully and for a long time.And you can!
What information can help you?
Firstly , immediately after childbirth (before taking measurements) it is necessary to provide skin-to-skin contact of the newborn and the mother (a method that involves finding a naked baby on the mother’s belly or breast), the baby should be dried, covered with a dry diaper, the duration of contact is at least 40 minutes, optimally 2 hours or more (This right of the mother and child is also enshrined in the Methodological Letter of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation of July 13, 2011 No.N 15-4 / 10 / 2-6796 “On the organization of the obstetric service in the context of the introduction of modern perinatal technologies”).
Why it matters:
a) In this case, the body of the baby is inhabited by the same bacteria that live on the body of his mother. This, in combination with HS, is considered an important prevention of allergic diseases.
b) If a newborn is separated from his mother immediately after childbirth, he becomes vulnerable to aggressive hospital flora, the risk of nosocomial infections increases sharply.
c) This calms the baby and mother, because they both experience severe stress during childbirth.
g) The baby is more likely to be able to breastfeed correctly (especially if the birth took place without the use of medication).
Secondly , attach the baby to the breast during the first hour after delivery. Don’t panic if your baby doesn’t pick up the breast right away. Children should eat when they show that they are ready, and if the child is in close contact with the mother, she will notice this willingness.The recommended duration of application is at least 20 minutes from each breast.
The baby’s first food should be colostrum. Colostrum is the secret of the mammary glands, which is produced during pregnancy and the first 3-5 days after childbirth (before the arrival of milk). It is a rich, thick liquid from light yellow to orange in color. Do not be alarmed that there is not enough colostrum. Colostrum is very concentrated, so the child needs absolutely drops.
Why it matters:
A) Colostrum contains several times more protein than mature milk, especially immunoglobulin A.Immunoglobulins are responsible for protecting the baby from infections and allergens, thanks to special mechanisms they are quickly absorbed in the baby’s stomach and intestines.
B) Has laxative properties to help the baby quickly get rid of the original stool – meconium, and also reduces the risk of physiological jaundice in the baby.
B) The mother triggers the oxytocin reflex, which contributes to the contraction of the uterus and faster recovery after childbirth.
Third, correct positioning of the baby at the breast and correct attachment of to the breast.Let’s dwell on the key points.
For example, you feed while sitting. How to hold a child:
a) The child’s body and head are on the same line.
b) The baby’s belly should be turned towards the mother’s belly and touch it.
c) It is necessary to support the entire body of the child.
The baby is brought to the breast with the NOSE to the nipple so that it is necessary to stretch behind the breast. When he opens his mouth wide, we press the baby to us.
If it was not possible to attach the child well, gently insert the little finger into the corner of the mouth and unclench the gums, remove the breast.
What does correct attachment look like? The baby’s mouth is open wide; the lips are turned outward; his chin touches his mother’s chest; the radius of capture of the areola is 2 – 3 cm from the base of the nipple; except for swallowing, puffing and even breathing, no other sounds are heard (smacking, etc.); mom does NOT hurt.
There are many feeding positions – sitting, lying, close at hand, relaxed feeding, etc.
Nuance: the bridle under the tongue of the baby affects good breastfeeding, ask the pediatrician in the maternity hospital to check it.If it turns out to be short, it is better to cut it off right away.
Fourth, frequent breastfeeding . The term “on demand” is commonly used, which is misleading for many moms. Many people think that a child “demands” when crying. At the same time, crying is the last thing a hungry child decides to do.
Signs of readiness to suck in a newborn :
The baby’s muscles tense, for example, clenching his fists and bending his elbows.
The child spins, spins and arches its back.
The child makes different sounds.
The child pulls his hands to his mouth (even if his eyes are closed, he can suck his hand).
If the child’s hand is near the face, he turns to the side of the hand, pokes, opens his mouth.
A newborn in the first 3 months of life may want to kiss 15-25 times a day. After all, his stomach is very small (on day 1 after childbirth – 5-7 ml, on day 3 – 22-27 ml, on day 7 – 45-60 ml) and breast milk is quickly absorbed. In addition to receiving nourishment, the baby also finds comfort in the mother’s breast.Therefore, it is not recommended to feed the baby “according to the regimen” – for example, once every 3 hours or limit his time at the breast, for example, feed no more than 15 minutes. Night feeds are critical to successful lactation to keep prolactin levels at the correct levels.
Why frequent applications are important:
a) The number of prolactin receptors increases in the breast, which further contributes to sufficient milk production.
b) Promotes a quieter flow of milk, without pronounced symptoms of engorgement.
c) When feeding “according to the regimen” there is a high risk that the child will be offended by the mother (after all, they do not immediately react to his needs) and will behave uneasily at the breast.
Fifth, it is not recommended for a child to be given pacifiers.
Why it matters:
a) Pacifiers artificially delay feeding times, resulting in poor weight gain and decreased milk production.
b) The child finds comfort not in his mother’s breast, but in a silicone object and can refuse the breast.
c) It spoils the grip of the breast, which leads to cracks, lactostasis.
Sixth, if you need to use supplementary feeding with expressed milk and / or mixture, then exclude the use of bottles.
Why it matters:
A) The baby gets used to the strong and constant flow of milk from the bottle and begins to behave restlessly at the breast, to be “lazy” to suck.
B) When sucking the bottle and the breast, different muscle groups are used, so the grip of the breast often deteriorates, the baby does not suck milk well, and gains weight worse.
Seventh, a joint sleep of mother and child.
Sleeping with your baby is perfectly normal. The child cannot be pampered with attention or too much to be held in your arms. The more children are held in their arms, the more attention they receive, the better they grow. The presence of the mother, her smell constantly encourages him to suckle more often, and therefore suck out more milk.
Parents in the West are advised to leave their child “shouting” before bed in order to raise an independent child, accustomed to loneliness and able to comfort himself.However, modern research shows that in this case, the child’s brain is irreparably damaged.
- The child should sleep on a clean and hard surface.
- Avoid sleeping with your baby if you are overly tired.
- Do not leave your baby unattended in an adult bed.
- In the cold season, cover with several layers of thin bedding instead of one thick layer.
- There must be no pets in bed
- No one should smoke in the room where the child sleeps.(You can read more about sleeping together in the article “Sleeping with a baby” by James McKenna).
Now let’s look at some common cases:
- A negative maternal Rh factor or blood group incompatibility is not a contraindication to hepatitis B. Rh-conflict, blood group conflict or hemolytic disease of the newborn is not a contraindication. Rh antibodies are destroyed in the newborn’s gastric juice. Research also shows that in children with hemolytic disease, HB does not increase the breakdown of red blood cells, red blood cells.
- The administration of anti-Rh immunoglobulin to prevent Rh conflicts in subsequent pregnancies in a mother with a negative Rh factor is not a contraindication to HB. Anti-Rhesus immunoglobulin almost does not pass into breast milk. Most of the immunoglobulins are destroyed in the newborn’s gastric juice.
- Can I breastfeed with jaundice?
Even with severe physiological jaundice in children in the first days of life, hepatitis B should not be abandoned.Early attachment to the breast and frequent feedings are important in preventing jaundice, since colostrum, as a laxative, causes meconium (original feces) to pass more quickly. With insufficient nutrition of the newborn baby, jaundice can be more intense and prolonged due to the thickening of bile. (source-NATIONAL PROGRAM OF OPTIMIZATION OF FEEDING OF FIRST YEAR CHILDREN IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, p. 17).
It is absolutely pointless in such a situation to give the child water, glucose, activated carbon, smecta, etc.- from this, the activity of liver enzymes, the function of which is reduced, will not increase. In some cases, it may be necessary to carry out phototherapy with special lamps, which can usually be rented from the hospital home.
- What if you are separated from your child?
It is recommended to express at least eight times a day. It doesn’t matter if you can express something or not, breast stimulation is important for maintaining and increasing milk supply.
If there is no joint stay in the maternity hospital, or the baby was taken to the children’s department for some medical reason, do not hesitate to visit him and feed him there! If your and his condition allows it, try to feed your baby only colostrum and then breast milk.
Try not to give the supplement from a bottle, but from a spoon, pipette or syringe without a needle.
“Arrival” of milk.
Milk arrives 3-4 days after childbirth, less often – 5-7 days. Your breasts become hot, heavy, tight. If the mother rarely lays the baby to the breast before, engorgement may occur. However, remember that you can do without pain and rough straining. To act according to the scheme: warmth – light massage – removal of edema from the areola – express a little – attach the child – cold compress.
“Hard” straining, which is often used in the hospital, leads to severe swelling and worsening of the situation. Alcohol compresses, Vishnevsky ointment, etc. are not recommended.
How to remove edema from the areola? Use the Pressure Relief Technique introduced by international consultant Jean Cotterman.
It is necessary to evenly and gently press on the areola towards the chest and hold the pressure for at least a full minute (up to 2-3 minutes).
How to express correctly? Fingers are placed on the border of the areola and white skin. First, the fingers are pressed in the direction of the chest: you grasp the milk-filled ducts that lie under the areola, and only then roll your fingers over them. Important: fingers do not fidget on the skin, they stay in one place on it.
How do I know if my baby has enough milk?
Newborns lose up to 6-10% of birth weight in the first two days of their life.This is a physiological norm. Most children regain their weight by 5-7 days of life or begin to gain weight.
- “Wet diaper test” .
Urination rate (per day) of a child under 10 days of age = number of days + 1.
That is, for example, a baby 2 days old, who has enough milk, pees 3 times a day.
Babies over 10 days old should write 12 times or more per day.
These calculations are correct if there is no water addition and no droppers.
- Weight gain . The rate of weight gain in babies in the first 6 months of life is from 500 to 2000 g per month.
The set is calculated not from the birth weight, but from the minimum (usually this is the weight at discharge). If the weight gain is less than 150g per week, we advise you to contact the AKEV HV specialists and the pediatrician.
- An infant should have a bowel movement at least 3-4 times a day (up to about 3-6 weeks). Then the stool is trimmed – up to 1 time per day or less.
All other signs – baby’s crying, little is expressed from the breast, milk does not leak, etc. – are not reliable signs of milk sufficiency / shortage .
- Care: it is recommended to wash your breasts 1-2 times a day while taking a general shower (just with water, without soap).
- Diet: you should not sit on “dry rations”, the menu should be varied and healthy (without the use of chemical additives), eat according to your appetite.Do not consume large quantities of whole milk, red vegetables and fruits, exotic fruits. Drink water, tea out of thirst.
- Sports: Moderate exercise can be started as early as 6 weeks after delivery.
Do not worry if the hospital does not manage to do everything. Feeding can still be adjusted. After you leave the hospital, you can ask an experienced breastfeeding mother or hepatitis B specialists from major associations to help you.
Ibragimova Elvira, hot water specialist in g.Naberezhnye Chelny Association of Natural Feeding Consultants (AKEV), Republic of Tatarstan
In the preparation of the article, WHO materials, leaflets from La Leche League, articles by J.