Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is characterized by the inflammation of the conjunctiva (the thin, transparent membrane covering the surface of the inner eyelid). A common condition, pink eye can occur in children and adults alike. While some cases of pink eye do not require any treatment, it is wise to consult an eye doctor. Like with any other eye condition, a qualified eye doctor can carefully examine your eyes and assess your symptoms in order to determine the most appropriate treatment option.
What Causes Pink Eye?
There are three primary types of conjunctivitis, based on the cause:
Viral conjunctivitis can be caused by a number of different viruses, similar to those that cause the common cold and sore throat. Although contagious, viral conjunctivitis is considered to be mild and usually clears up on its own.
Bacterial conjunctivitis, as the name suggests, is caused by bacteria that infects the membrane in the eye. If left untreated, this type of pink eye can cause serious damage to the eye. If the condition is severe, our eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics or eye drops.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by eye irritants such as pollen, dust and pet dander. This form of pink eye can usually be treated with a cool compress of allergy medicines.
Pink eye can also occur when irritants such as chemicals and fungi come in contact with the eye. In these cases, it is important to seek medical care immediately.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
- Inflammation of the eyelids
- A feeling of grit being in one or both eyes
- Itchy, red eyes
- Tearing or pus-like discharge
- Crust forming in one or both eyes
How We Can Help
If you are experiencing any symptoms of pink eye, we strongly advise you to schedule an appointment with us. Treatments for pinkeye are simple and effective, but the correct treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis. Upon evaluating your symptoms and determining the cause, our eye doctor can recommend the most effective treatment. For instance, bacterial conjunctivitis can usually be cured with antibiotic ointments or drops. On the other hand, viral conjunctivitis is often left to run its course without treatment. If pinkeye is caused by allergies, prescription antihistamines or other medications can help control inflammation.
Because pink eye is highly contagious, it is extremely important to take precautionary measures to prevent it from occurring, worsening or spreading. Good oral hygiene habits such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your eyes with your fingers can help avoid spreading bacteria onto your eyes. It is also important to not share towels, washcloths or makeup with other people. If you are experiencing symptoms of pinkeye, a warm or cool compress on the affected eye can ease discomfort. The compress should be clean, lint-free and damp with sterile water. If only one eye is affected, be careful not to touch the unaffected eye with the compress, or use the washcloth for any other purpose. Wash hands thoroughly before and after applying the compress. Be sure to stop wearing contact lenses or eye makeup and schedule a consultation with our office.
Speak to Our Eye Doctor Today
At our comprehensive eye care practice, our team has years of experience diagnosing and treating a range of eye conditions, no matter how small or big they are. To learn more about services we offer for pink eye or other eye conditions, please schedule a consultation with our staff today.