Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The lining of the eye is usually clear; if irritation or infection occurs, the lining becomes red and swollen.
Symptoms Can Help Determine the Cause of Pink Eye
The main causes of pink eye are dry eyes from irritants, allergies, viral infection and bacterial infection. The signs and symptoms that are experienced with the infection, are what differentiate the exact cause. Red, itchy, watery eyes that are swollen, or have a discharge of some sort, are common symptoms that indicate an infection.
- Viral infections are usually accompanied by cold or flu like symptoms along with thin or clear discharge.
- Bacterial infections are characterized by having yellow or green pus discharge.
With a viral or bacterial infection, it is considered to be highly contagious and it is recommended to take precautions to prevent the spread of the illness. Proper handwashing is your best defense.
Common Symptoms Of Pink Eye
- Persistent redness and itchiness feeling in one or both eyes
- Thick yellow or green discharge (sign of a bacterial infection)
- Thin or clear discharge from the eye (sign of a viral or allergic reaction)
- Painful eye in bright light
- Eyes stuck shut in the morning when you wake up
When to See a Doctor for Pink Eye Treatment
Treating conjunctivitis warrants a trip to the doctor if the redness is bacterial. The infection can start off in one eye or both eyes, or even move from one eye to the other. This is usually a sign of a bacterial or viral infectious form of pink eye. If the infection is accompanied by blurred vision, severe pain in one or both eyes, or it appears to be getting worse, then medical attention would be advised. In addition, if you have high fever, chills, face pain or vision loss, seek immediate medical attention. For less severe irritants and allergy related conditions, pink eye treatment home remedies can help clear the redness up in a matter of a few days to a couple of weeks. This would include compresses that are hot or cold, eye drops or artificial tears, antihistamine, and washing hands before and after touching the infected eye. To prevent the spread of pink eye, it’s important to stay home (away from school and work) until the infection begins to clear up. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, you can help to limit its spread as well.
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