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  • Conjunctivitis

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    Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is inflammation of the outermost layer of the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. It makes the eye appear pink or reddish. Pain, burning, scratchiness, or itchiness may occur. The affected eye may have increased tears or be "stuck shut" in the morning. Swelling of the white part of the eye may also occur. Itching is more common in cases due to allergies. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes. The most common infectious causes are viral followed by bacterial. The viral infection may occur along with other symptoms of a common cold. Both viral and bacterial cases are easily spread between people. Allergies to pollen or animal hair are also a common cause. Diagnosis is often based on signs and symptoms. Occasionally, a sample of the discharge is sent for culture. Prevention is partly by handwashing. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. In the majority of viral cases, there is no specific treatment. Most cases due to a bacterial infection also resolve without treatment; however, antibiotics can shorten the illness. People who wear contact lenses and those whose infection is caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia should be treated. Allergic cases can be treated with antihistamines or mast cell inhibitor drops. About 3 to 6 million people get conjunctivitis each year in the United States. In adults, viral causes are more common, while in children, bacterial causes are more common. Typically, people get better in one or two weeks. If visual loss, significant pain, sensitivity to light, signs of herpes, or if symptoms do not improve after a week, further diagnosis and treatment may be required. Conjunctivitis in a newborn, known as neonatal conjunctivitis, may also require specific treatment.

  • Stye

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    A stye, also known as a hordeolum, is a bacterial infection of an oil gland in the eyelid. This results in a red tender bump at the edge of the eyelid. The outside or the inside of the eyelid can be affected. The cause of a stye is usually a bacterial infection by Staphylococcus aureus. The internal ones are due to infection of the meibomian gland while the external ones are due to an infection of the gland of Zeis. A chalazion on the other hand is a blocked oil gland without infection. They are typically in the middle of the eyelid and not painful. Often a stye will go away without any specific treatment in a few days or weeks. Recommendations to speed improvement include warm compresses. Occasionally antibiotic eye ointment may be recommended. While these measures are often recommended, evidence to support them is poor. The frequency at which styes occur is unclear. They may happen at any age.

  • Episcleritis

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    Episcleritis is a benign, self-limiting inflammatory disease affecting part of the eye called the episclera. The episclera is a thin layer of tissue that lies between the conjunctiva and the connective tissue layer that forms the white of the eye (sclera). Episcleritis is a common condition, and is characterized by the abrupt onset of painless eye redness. There are two types of episcleritis, nodular and simple. Nodular episcleritis lesions have raised surface. Simple episcleritis lesions are flat. There are two subtypes. In diffuse simple episcleritis, inflammation is generalized. In sectoral simple episcleritis, the inflammation is restricted to one region. Most cases of episcleritis have no identifiable cause, although a small fraction of cases is associated with various systemic diseases. Often people with episcleritis experience it recurrently. Treatment focuses on decreasing discomfort, and includes lubricating eye drops. More severe cases may be treated with topical corticosteroids or oral anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

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