Pink eye is plaguing NBC commentator Bob Costas, and now his embattled left eye even has its own Twitter account. More commonly occurring in the preschool set, conjunctivitis causes inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids forcing contacts wearers to don glasses.
Most often, the pink eye is caused by a virus, but it can also result from allergies or bacteria. Viral versions of conjunctivitis are highly contagious and tend to spread, particularly among children; bacterial pink eye can also be contagious, but allergy-prompted pink eye isn't. Symptoms include redness, pain, itching, sensitivity, blurry vision, watering, and a gritty feeling in the eyeball. Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually cured with antibiotics like eye drops, but viral and allergic conjunctivitis should clear up on its own. Use a warm compress over closed eyes to soothe the discomfort.
As with most things, pink eye prevention starts with good hygiene; be sure to wash your hands, especially after a chance of contamination and before handling contact lenses. You can also prevent pink eye by changing pillowcases frequently and not sharing eye makeup, towels, or handkerchiefs with other people. It's also a good idea to keep the hand-eye contact to a minimum.
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