Most eye and eyelid infections are not actually classic “pink eye”. Pink eye is a viral infection with adenovirus. More often, repeated and recurring “pink eye infections” are caused by Staphylococcal hypersensitivity (Staph hyper).
Staph hyper is very similar to eczema of the skin. It involves an overgrowth of the normal Staphylococcal bacteria that we all have on our skin. The Staph produces an exotoxin that some people are allergic to which causes symptoms of eye redness, crusting, itching, pain, and blurred vision. Staph hyper is very common in young kids and is often outgrown but can persist into adulthood. Severe cases can lead to corneal scarring and can even require corneal transplantation.
The cornerstone of treatment for Staph hyper is reducing bacteria on the eyelid margin and reducing the bodies overreaction to the bacterial exotoxins. This usually involves a skin cleanser (I prefer Cetaphil), an antibiotic (I prefer bacitracin ointment), and a steroid (I prefer Lotemax ointment). Additionally, an antiseptic such as Avenova can be very helpful for long-term maintenance of eyelid hygiene.
Don’t ignore eye or eyelid redness! Come in and let us help improve the condition of your ocular surface.