Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane under the eyelid and over the white part of the eye). membranes become mildly to severely inflamed and reddened thus the name, pink eye. It is caused by bacteria, viruses, or other irritants. Children are commonly affected because they touch their eyes with their hands so frequently. It is very contagious (easy to get from someone who has it}. Risk increases with children, those who wear lenses and contact with someone who has been infected.
Symptoms may include:
- Increased tearing
- Redness in the eyes
- Eye pain Swollen eye lids
- Itchy or burning eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Possible blurred vision
- Clear green or yellow discharge from the eye; after sleeping, crusts on lashes cause eyelids to stick together
- Often begins in one eye but quickly spreads to the other eye
What your doctor can do:
- Diagnose the problem by inspecting the eyes. Determine if the infection is bacterial, viral, or from some other irritant
- Prescribe antibiotic drops for the eyes (for bacterial conjunctivitis). Viral conjunctivitis will not go away with an antibiotic.
What you can do:
- Take the antibiotic as prescribed by your doctor.
- Wash hands often with antiseptic soap
- Avoid touching the eyes to avoid spreading the infection. If you do touch he eye, wash hands immediately.
- Gently wipe discharge from the eye using disposable tissues
- Avoid sharing eye make up, towels, etc, with others to prevent spreading
- Use warm-water soaks on the eyes or cool water for discomfort
- Avoid wearing contact lenses until infection is cleared up. Clean or disinfect contacts well before re-use
- Avoid using eye makeup during infection. Throw away mascara and start with a new tube after infection is cleared up
What you can expect:
- Most conjunctivitis is curable.
- Viral conjunctivitis can last 4 – 6 weeks
- Complications include spreading of the infection to other parts of the eye and re-infection
- Contact your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment
This material has been provided by your doctor as an educational tool and is not meant to take the place of professional care. Please consult your doctor for any questions, concerns or changes in your condition.
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