What Is It?
- Commonly known as Pink Eye
- The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and extends to cover the inner surface of the eyelids.
- Most times this affects both eyes. It frequently will start in 1 eye and progress to both eyes within 1 – 2 days.
Signs and Symptoms
- Eye irritation or discomfort. This is sometimes described as tenderness, burning, itching or stickiness.
- Redness in the white part of the eye.
- Discharge from the eyes. This is usually worse in the mornings when you first wake up.
- Eyelids may be swollen.
- Light sensitivity may accompany other symptoms.
- Allergic response
- Itching is the hallmark symptom of this type of pink eye. This may also be accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing and/or an irritated throat.
- The discharge is usually clear to white. There may be more tearing.
- Bacterial infection
- Eyelids are often swollen with crusty colored discharge when you first wake up
- The discharge is usually yellow or green
- Irritation from environmental factors
- Itching may be a frequent characteristic.
- There is often excessive tearing.
- This is frequently associated with contact lens use and/or sleeping in the contacts.
- Viral infection
- This is the leading cause of pink eye.
- This is usually transmitted by our fingers that have the virus on them.
- Eyelids are frequently swollen with crusty discharge when you first wake up
- This discharge is usually clear watery.
- Handwashing – Handwashing – Handwashing!
- Good handwashing is the best method we have to prevent getting pink eye.
- Treating allergies will help those who get allergic conjunctivitis from suffering from that. There are drops that help you prevent eye symptoms.
- Treatment is dependent upon the cause of the pink eye.
- Avoid the substance that you are allergic to if you know what it is.
- Take your allergy medication. There are tablets that you can purchase over the counter that do not cause drowsiness, such as Claritin.
- There are medicines that be prescribed if needed.
- This usually lasts about a week.
- Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed for this.
- This will resolve spontaneously with avoidance of the irritation.
- Do not sleep in contacts that are not made to be worn to bed.
- Keep your eye moist with artificial tears to decrease the discomfort.
- This will resolve spontaneously also. However, because it is a virus, it must run its course. Antibiotic drops will not help it to resolve faster.
- Eye secretions are infectious for 7 days after the onset of symptoms.
- Keep your eye moist with artificial tears as needed for comfort.
When to see a provider
- Any time you would like your eye symptoms evaluated come to the Health Center or see the provider of your choice.
- Any time the treatment that was started is not helping within 2 days.
- Any time you have worsening symptoms, including pain or vision changes.
Back to the Common Ailments page
Last Updated 5/21/12
at the Health Center.