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How Much Do You Know About Pink Eye?

Have you ever had pink eye?

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a very common disease characterized by redness in the whites of the eyes, itchiness, and either watery or thick discharge. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the outer layer of tissue covering the surface of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids. The condition is common but also easy to prevent and to treat. Let’s go over the different types and causes of pink eye.

Bacterial Versus Viral Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis comes in viral and bacterial forms, both of which are highly contagious, though the symptoms and treatments differ. Bacterial conjunctivitis is easy to spot from the thick greenish-yellow secretions. It typically begins in one eye before spreading to the other over the course of a few days. Other people can also catch it through direct contact. It can usually be quickly cleared up with prescribed antibiotics.

The viral form involves watery discharge and tends to last longer than the bacterial form. Antibiotics won’t do anything for it, but you can relieve the swelling and irritation until the inflammation subsides with warm compresses. It usually goes away on its own, but until then, it’s even more contagious than the bacterial form because you can spread it by sneezing or coughing.

Could It Just Be Allergies?

Another way our eyes can become inflamed is allergies. If your red, itchy eyes are the result of allergies, you can take allergy medications or avoid the allergens in question. Contacts-wearers are susceptible to a form of pink eye called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. They may be allergic to cleaning solution or they may not be removing and cleaning their contact lenses often enough. Make sure to follow the care and cleaning instructions on the packaging!

Chemical Conjunctivitis

Another way to develop conjunctivitis symptoms is through exposure to harsh chemicals, chlorine in swimming pools, or even pollution. The best way to deal with this kind of inflammation is to flush your eyes thoroughly with cool, clean water for several minutes. If the symptoms continue, seek medical attention.

Tips for Preventing Pink Eye

As treatable as conjunctivitis is, it’s better to minimize the risk of getting it in the first place. Here are a few ways to protect your eyes from infections like pink eye:

  • Thorough and regular hand-washing
  • Aiming sneezes and coughs into your armpit instead of your hands
  • Not rubbing or touching your eyes
  • NEVER sharing contact lens solution, the contact lenses themselves, or eye makeup
  • Following all instructions for replacing and caring for contact lenses
  • Taking contacts out before swimming

Come to Us With Pink Eye Symptoms

If you or a family member have been experiencing pink eye symptoms or have questions about the condition, get in touch with us. We can set up an appointment to determine what the problem is and recommend the best treatment, if treatment is needed.

Helping patients maintain eye health for life is what we love!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.