Pink eye is a very common, easily treatable condition that causes the thin covering of the eye and/or the inside of the eyelid to become red and inflamed.
If you wear contacts and suspect you have pink eye, you should remove them and wear only your glasses until you have been diagnosed and treated, otherwise you risk reinfecting your eyes with contaminated contact lenses.
Types, Symptoms, and Treatment
There are three types of pink eye: bacterial, viral, and allergic. Your eye doctor will determine what type of pink eye you have and will prescribe the necessary treatment.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by touching something that someone also infected by bacterial pink eye has touched and then touching the eye. It’s very contagious and must be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Symptoms include a yellow, sticky discharge from the eye and redness.
Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, also is contagious through coughing and sneezing, but will clear up on its own without treatment. Symptoms include watery, red, itchy eyes.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when dust, dander or other fine substance enters the eye and causes an allergic reaction. It is not contagious, and unlike bacterial or viral conjunctivitis which can appear in one or both eyes, it always occurs in both eyes. Symptoms are similar to viral conjunctivitis but the itchiness is worse. Allergy medicine can help reduce the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
To prevent contracting or spreading pink eye
- Do not share contact lenses, sunglasses, towels or washcloths.
- If you have a cold or the flu, sneeze into your elbow to keep germs from becoming airborne.
- Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your eyes or your face.
- If you wear contacts, replace them with new lenses at the assigned time to avoid bacterial buildup that can lead to conjunctivitis.
- If you have seasonal allergies, begin allergy treatment before symptoms appear.
If you experience any of the symptoms of pink eye, call Dr. Dave or Dr. Cheryl at 609-653-9933 immediately to schedule an appointment so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis and start treatment right away.