Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed. It turns very pink or red due to its many blood vessels dilating in response to an irritant. There are several types and causes for conjunctivitis.
Bacterial Conjunctivitis: This form is highly contagious. Signs include red eyes, itchy eyes, and a sticky yellowish green eye discharge. The only way to clear the eyes of this particular conjunctivitis is to see a doctor for an antibiotic prescription.
Viral Conjunctivitis: This is highly contagious and can be spread by direct contact and shared makeup. Signs are red, watery, itchy eyes. It may also make eyes sensitive to light.
Allergic Conjunctivitis: This type can cause severe irritation and swollen lids with itching. The eyes can be itchy, burning, and red. This can be caused from eyelash extension adhesive (so make sure eyes are shut properly to limit exposure of vapors getting into the eyes.) It can also be caused from creams, cleansers, and facial products getting in the eye. Eye drops can soothe and re-lubricate the eye.
Environmental Conjunctivitis: This form can occur due to exposure – whether it is from ultraviolet exposure, a patient sleeping under a fan with incomplete eyelid closure at night, or seasonal allergies. Eye drops can help as long as infection does not set in.
Unclean contacts can cause a bacterial infection which would need antibiotics to remedy. Contact lenses can also cause irritation. Eye drops made for contact lenses could help.
If applying eyelash extensions on someone and their eyes become red, this is chemical conjunctivitis and can be relieved with eye drops. If skin care products cause the eyes to become red, use eye rinse to flush out the eyes.
To ensure client wellness and safety, always do the following prior to beginning any treatment: look into the eyes; check for any red flags; point out anything of note to the client; take a picture; document findings on the client’s intake form; assess but never diagnose; and ask questions. These questions might include, “How long have you had red eyes?”; “Do they itch?”; “Do they feel dry or gritty?”; “Do they Burn?”; “Have you noticed a discharge?”; and “Have you noticed any swelling?”
If the client is unable to answer these questions or has not yet seen a doctor, tell them it is best not to perform the service today and to wait to reschedule until the condition clears up. If it does not clear up by the next day, or there are any other symptoms, recommend he or she see an eye doctor. Red eyes could be the start of viral or bacterial conjunctivitis. If services are performed and the client does have conjunctivitis, it will be a recipe for disaster.