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There are times when you need to seek treatment for pink eye. But sometimes, this is not necessary. Though this condition can be quite irritating, it rarely affects people’s vision. Pink eye can be contagious, but early diagnosis and treatment can limit its spread.

 

Pink eye is common in both kids and adults. It can occur in one or both eyes. If it occurs in both eyes, the cause is typically a virus. In the United States, between three and six million cases of conjunctivitis occur each year.

 

Kids get pink eye a lot. Though it is highly contagious, it is rarely serious. When found and treated early, it is not likely to damage one’s vision. When you follow your doctor’s recommendations, the condition clears up quickly with no long-term complications.

 

What Is Pink Eye?


 

Also known as conjunctivitis, this is an infection/inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the transparent membrane lining the eyelid covering the white part of the eyeball. Inflammation of the tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva makes them more visible. This causes the white part of the eye to appear pink or reddish.

 

Causes of Pink Eye


 

Technically, this condition occurs when the blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed. Some of the causes of the inflammation include:

 

  • Viruses such as the common cold or Covid-19
     

  • Bacteria
     

  • Allergens such as pollen, molds, and other allergy-causing substances
     

  • Sexually transmitted infections caused by bacteria or a virus
     

  • Irritating substances like cosmetics, shampoos, smoke, dirt, contact lenses, and pool chlorine
     

  • Incompletely opened or blocked teat duct in babies
     

  • Foreign object in the eye
     

  • Parasites, amoebas, and fungi

     

Symptoms


 

The most common symptoms of conjunctivitis include itchiness in one or both eyes, tearing, redness in one or both eyes, and a gritty sensation in one or both eyes. A discharge may also flow from one or both eyes. This discharge can form a crust while you sleep, which may prevent your eye from opening properly when you wake up. Other symptoms include:

 

  • Itchiness
     

  • Increased sensitivity to light
     

  • Burning eyes
     

  • Swollen eyelids
     

  • Blurred vision

     

Treatments


 

Treatment for pink eye depends on the specific cause of the condition. If bacteria are the cause of your pink eye, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics in the form of pills, ointments, or eyedrops. The bacterial infection should improve within a few days as long as you follow your doctor’s instructions.

 

In pink eye caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective. This form of pink eye must run its course, just like a cold must. Usually, it lasts from four days to one week. But sometimes, it can take up to two weeks to fully resolve. To relieve the symptoms in the meantime, you should use artificial tears or apply a cold compress several times a day.

 

If you have pink eye caused by an irritating substance, rinse your eyes with a stream of warm water for several minutes. Your condition should improve within a few hours. Treatment for allergic pink eye, on the other hand, involves over-the-counter or prescription eye drops containing antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medication.

 

Can Conjunctivitis Clear on Its Own?


 

Mild cases of conjunctivitis usually do not require medical treatment. They resolve within a few days to about two weeks.


 

To learn more about pink eye, contact Berris Optical at our office in Rocky River, Ohio. You can call 440-571-7100 today to schedule an appointment.

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