Did you know?
The average person blinks 22 times per minute. That basically means within a year, we’ll have blinked around 8,000,000 times.
Why so much though?
According to medical research, it’s both a defense mechanism and sustaining motion for the eye. Not only does it provide moisture to keep the eye from drying out, but it also protects from pesky irritants like dust, pollen, bugs, etc. Yet for all blinking does, it cannot protect against infections like conjunctivitis.
More commonly called pink eye, this inflammation of the inner layer of the eyelid mostly comes from viral or bacterial infections. There are of course other causes like allergies, Chlamydia, parasites, fungi, use of contact lenses, certain diseases, and chemical exposure. While these may be potential origins, they are not as common. Thus, for the sake of time (yours and mine), we’ll just go over the primary two.
For the most part, conjunctivitis comes from a virus, generally when you’re suffering from the common cold and/or a sore throat. (You won’t find it every time you’re feeling sick, but don’t be surprised if you see it on occasion). The infection starts in one eye, and can easily travel to the other one.
Much like its infectious counterpart, the bacterial pink eye is highly contagious. The difference between the two though comes from more than names. Bacterial conjunctivitis develops from a pus-producing bacterium that will bring about irritation or grittiness. Depending on the situation, you’ll see a dark, gray, or yellow mucus/pus secreting from your eye. Careful when you blink. The discharge can cause your eyelids to stick to each other, especially after you sleep.
So how do you know for sure if you have it? While the name implies a pink color, more often than not, you’ll see red. Other symptoms may include but are not limited to: swelling, burning, eye pain, blurred vision, excessive tearing, itching, some sensitivity to light, drainage from the eye, and/or feeling like there’s something in your eye. You’ll probably do a bit more blinking as well, given that your eyes will be drier and more sensitive. If you’re really not sure, check with a doctor.
The easiest place to find one immediately is an urgent care clinic. Think about it, pink eye is very contagious. If you’ve got a cold, you can spread it through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through touch. Touch your eye, touch a doorknob, hold someone’s hand, touch food and share it with someone. You’re going to get people sick fast.
If you’re in an ER waiting for who knows how long, think about how many things/people you can cough/sneeze on or touch. That or while you’re waiting, you might catch something they have and worsen your condition. Very tempting isn’t it?
Stop by an urgent clinic instead, where doctors will treat you readily upon arrival and with friendly courtesy. You’ll save time being sick and save your family, friends, coworkers, and random strangers from being infected. Yes, you’ll even be able to blink again.