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Pink Eye: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Red, itchy, and watery eyes? Needless to say, pink eye is no fun!

What Is Pink Eye?

Luckily, there are some precautions you can take to avoid pink eye and the discomfort it entails. But first, what is it exactly? Pink eye–also called conjunctivitis–is irritation or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear covering of the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids.

Symptoms of pink eye include:

  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itching or burning
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Red or pink discoloration
  • Light sensitivity

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your eye doctor. We also advise that you stop wearing your contact lenses until we’ve had a chance to examine your eyes and determine the cause of your conjunctivitis.

There Are Three Types Of Conjunctivitis

The three main types of conjunctivitis are infectious, allergic and chemical. Treatment will depend on what is causing the conjunctivitis.

Infectious Conjunctivitis

Infectious conjunctivitis is what most people are referring to when they mention “pink eye.” The two types of infectious conjunctivitis, bacterial and viral, are highly contagious. Bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with antibiotic eye drops and can cause serious damage if left untreated. Viral conjunctivitis usually lasts from one to two weeks and will disappear on its own. Warm compresses help to relieve swelling and irritation associated with infectious conjunctivitis.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by irritants such as pollen, dust, animal dander, etc. and is not contagious. It occurs most commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies.

Chemical Conjunctivitis

Caused by exposure to noxious chemicals, pollution and chlorine in swimming pools, this type of conjunctivitis is also not contagious. Wear goggles while swimming or working with chemicals to protect your eyes.

Take These Steps To Avoid Pink Eye

It’s always easier to prevent a problem than to treat it. Follow these tips to help protect your eyes from conjunctivitis:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Never share contacts, makeup, hand towels, washcloths, etc.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Remove contacts before swimming
  • Follow your optometrist’s instructions on proper contact lens care

Your Quality Of Life Matters To Us

The health of your eyes is so important to your quality of life. If for any reason you find yourself with the symptoms of pink eye, call us or come into our office. We’ll help you get your eyes get back to normal in no time!

Thank you for being our patients!

Top image by Flickr user peapod labs used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.