What is pinkeye?
Pinkeye, otherwise known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin, clear membrane of the white part of your eye and the inside of your eyelid. Although the membrane of your eye is clear, it has blood vessels. When you have pinkeye, these vessels become inflamed and red. Most often caused by a bacterial infection or virus, it can also be caused or worsened by allergies and chemicals.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may vary and depend on the severity of your case, but in many cases, symptoms include:
• itching or burning eyes
• excessive tearing
• red and swollen eyelids
• red eyes
• sensitivity to light
• discharge from the eyes
How do you treat pinkeye?
The first step to treating pinkeye is to get a diagnosis from your doctor. Generally, a trained physician can diagnose the condition without any tests however, in most cases, a swab will be taken to determine the cause of the condition. Treatment can begin right away. Pinkeye which is bacterial, is treated with antibiotics either by eyedrop, pills or as an ointment. In the case of viral pinkeye, there is no real treatment and you simply have to let the virus run its course.
You can help your eyes feel better during this time by using a cold or warm compress (be sure to use a clean compress each time), and by cleaning your eyes.
How do you avoid pinkeye in the future?
While there is no sure way to completely avoid pinkeye, there are a number of things you can do to lessen the chances of contracting it, including:
1. Never sharing washcloths or tissues
2. Avoiding touching your eyes without first washing your hands
3. Never sharing contact lenses
4. Frequently using hand sanitizer
5. Keeping surfaces around you clean especially when used by others
6. Taking out contact lenses before being in water of any kind to avoid trapping bacteria behind the lens
Although issues like pinkeye may be quite minor in most cases, it is still advisable that you seek treatment right away to protect your eyes and avoid spreading the condition to others.
Note: pinkeye is very contagious
Alpine Eye Care is a comprehensive eye care facility to help you protect your vision in Northern Michigan. For more information about this or to schedule an appointment with us, call us at 1.877.SEE.2020.