Eye Health

23 May 2017

Does Justin Bieber really have pink eye?

Justin Bieber recently posted a series of selfies after reportedly having contracted conjunctivitis in his left eye.

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Justin Bieber recently made headlines after posting selfies on Instagram, claiming to have pink eye, Channel24 reports.

What is pink eye?

Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva – a thin and transparent membrane covering the surface of the inner eyelids and the whites of the eyes.

It is extremely contagious and those affected by pink eye need to remain in isolation for up to two weeks.

According to a Health24 article, scientists found that the protein coat of the virus – adenovirus keratitis – induces inflammation of the conjunctiva. The inflammation could, however, be blocked by a peptide containing components of the same protein (adenovirus) coat.

The inflammation causes discharge from the eye, allowing the virus to spread.

There are four types of conjunctivitis:

  • Viral conjunctivitis: It occurs in epidemics in schools and other institutes; it affects both eyes within a day or two after exposure.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: It itches and starts when you rub your eyes after coming into contact with an allergen, such as cats, dogs or pollen grains.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: The eyelids stick together in the morning due to pus in the eye.
  • Chemical conjunctivitis: Both eyes are affected after exposure to a chemical.

But does Justin Bieber really have pink eye?

On the left is someone with pink eye and on the right a picture of Justin Bieber's eyes. It is not possible to make a positive diagnosis just by looking at a photograph.   

justin bieber,pink eye,health

                 Left: iStock – pink eye. Right: Screenshot; Instagram/@justinbieber – Does Justin Bieber have pink eye?

What can you do to prevent it?

Although there is no known effective treatment for pink eye, there are a number of preventative strategies one can follow:

  • Do not share eye makeup, contact lens container or solution.
  • Do not share towels, linen or handkerchiefs.
  • Always wear gloves when removing a foreign object from someone's eyes – e.g. an eyelash or a grain of sand.
  • Wear safety glasses or some other form of protection when you're working with chemicals – in schools, labs or the workplace.
  • Always try to keep your hands away from your eyes to make sure you don't rub them.
  • Always wash your hands before and after touching your face and/or eyes.

Read more:

What is eye disease?

Causes of eye disease

Symptoms of eye disease

 

Ask the Expert

Optometrist

Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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