Man with Pink Eye

Pink Eye Treatment From Spectrum Eye Physicians

Conjunctivitis – more commonly known as “pink eye” – is inflammation of the eye’s outer surface and eyelid. Mild cases of pink eye may be merely irritating, with only burning and itchiness, but severe cases can cause extreme discomfort or even temporary blindness. Pink eye is a symptom, rather than a disease itself, and it can be caused by a wide variety of bacterial and viral infections. Most cases will eventually resolve on their own without treatment, but eye drops are available to alleviate severe symptoms or help keep the eye clean.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

Pink eye virtually always causes red, bloodshot eyes (hence its name) that are often itchy or painful. Pink eye swelling can be severe, sometimes causing the eyes to swell completely shut; this most often occurs when awakening in the morning. Often, watery eyes will result in a discharge coming from the infected area; this should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent germs from breeding.

Causes of Pink Eye

Pink eye can be caused by both bacterial and viral infections. Depending on the pathogen responsible for the infection, symptoms can vary widely; viral infections are often milder and accompany cold-like symptoms, while bacterial infections are more likely to cause significant inflammation or a sticky discharge. Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Haemophilus are among the bacteria most often responsible for conjunctivitis, while adenoviruses are the most common causes of viral pink eye infections.

Pink eye can also be caused by allergies or environmental stimuli. If caused by an allergic reaction, pink eye should be very temporary and easily treatable with antihistamines. Strongly acidic or alkaline substances, as well as burns, can also cause pink eye.

How Long to Cure Pink Eye?

Most cases of pink eye caused by infection will resolve on their own in a matter of days or weeks, but a few treatment options are available for the most serious cases. To relieve inflammation symptoms, antihistamines may be prescribed, and artificial tears can help to ease discomfort and cleanse the eye if it is producing a discharge. Antibiotics are available for patients with bacterial infections; a course of treatment typically lasts seven to ten days. However, antibiotics are typically only prescribed to patients with particularly bad cases that haven’t improved on their own within three days.

Pink eye can be diagnosed by eye doctors or ophthalmologists after a quick eye exam. The eye doctor will determine the level of visual impairment, discuss the severity and duration of symptoms, and inspect the eye itself. Testing to determine the exact cause of the infection is typically not required to effectively treat it.

Pink Eye FAQs

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions, and well-known for its itchy, crusty, runny symptoms. At Spectrum Eye Physicians, we understand you may have lots of questions if you or a loved one develop these symptoms. Let us talk about these questions and what optometry services you may need.

Pink eye is an infection, and all infections pose some risks, especially to those with compromised immune systems or other problems. However, despite being itchy and uncomfortable, pink eye has a low risk of causing additional problems and typically resolves itself.

However, there are some cases where it is important to see a doctor and get an examination and potentially additional treatment. Newborns with pink eye, for example, should always see their pediatrician to help prevent serious complications. Those undergoing cancer treatments or other treatments that affect the immune system should also see their doctor immediately. And, of course, if the pink eye is causing a lot of pain or vision problems, you should always make an appointment to get it checked out.

Pink eye has a reputation for being very contagious – and that is partly true. There are both viral and bacterial forms of pink eye, and they can both be spread very easily by direct contact, airborne, or objects that have the microorganisms on them. It does not help that pink eye tends to cause a lot of discharge, nor that the itchiness can make it very tempting to scratch with your hands. Add all that up, and it is not surprising that the infection spreads so easily in schools!

However, at other times pink eye can be caused by serious reactions to allergens in the air. If this is what creates the infection, it is not contagious like the other versions pink eye – although it still requires proper care.

This can vary greatly based on how serious the infection is, and the body responds when fighting it. Some cases resolve in several days. Other cases can take a few weeks before they are no longer contagious. And do not forget, sometimes pink eye starts in one eye and eventually spreads to the other, which can extend the length of the infection and make it stay contagious for longer.

For the eye itself, it is important to keep it clean and comfortable. Healthy, lubricating eyedrops can often ease symptoms, and some people prefer to wear an eyepatch to keep the eye closed and reduce the chances of infection. People who wear contact lenses should stop wearing contacts until their symptoms clear up.

It is also important to practice good hygiene. Regularly rinse out the eye, and frequently wash pillowcases, sheets, and other things that meet the eye.

For bad cases, a doctor may recommend antibiotics or other forms of treatment to help treat the condition more effectively.

Contact Spectrum Eye Physicians Today!

Schedule your appointment online or call us at 408-884-2215. No matter which of our locations you visit, you will receive the latest in eye care technology from friendly eye doctors and staff committed to serving you.

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