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Pink Eye Symptoms & Treatments

Pink Eye Symptoms & Treatments

The condition conjunctivitis is most often called 'pink eye.' Conjunctivitis occurs when there is inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the membrane which layers the whites of your eyes, as well as the inner area of your eyelids. Your conjunctiva is responsible for keeping your eyes lubricated and free from harm. Any inflammation causes them to redden, which spreads to the rest of your eyes. This is how conjunctivitis earned the nickname pink eye.

There are many causes of pink eye, and lots of highly effective treatments. Here's a closer look at pink eye's causes, symptoms, and how to find the right medication.

General Symptoms of Pink Eye

As inflammation sets in, the first thing that happens is the eyes begin to go bloodshot. This may be followed by a slight colorless discharge, itchiness, and general irritation. Most sufferers describe the sensation like having grit stuck in your eyes.

Swelling of the conjunctiva can also occur, as well as light sensitivity. Crusty eyes are another recurring problem, and tearing of the eyes is to be expected. Whether bacteria or a virus is at the root of your problem, all pink eye patients will experience these symptoms:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Clear discharge
  • Itchiness
  • Irritation (gritty feeling)
  • Swelling in and around the eye(s)
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Crusty eyes (especially in the morning after sleep)
  • Teary and watery eyes

Common Causes of Pink Eye

Pink eye can be caused by a range of different conditions. The most common cause of pink eye is the presence of bacteria, with viral infections coming second. Let's take a closer look at all the possible causes of pink eye.

Viral Infections

Viral pink eye doesn't have a definite treatment but medication is available to help your body fight the infection. When you don't receive treatment for a viral pink eye infection, the following symptoms can arise:

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye. Redness is normally accompanied by a thick discharge and excessive crustiness. Conditions are worst in the morning.

Most infections are due to the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Children however, are more likely to be infected by other bacteria:

  • Moraxella
  • Catarrhalis
  • Streptococcus
  • Hemophilus influenza

All forms of bacterial pink eye are highly contagious. Contact with friends and family members must be avoided and patients are advised to never touch their eyes.

Other Causes of Pink Eye

An allergic reaction can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is less common than bacterial and viral infections, but it is a possibility.

Some common allergen triggers are:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Chemical agents
  • Foreign objects such as pollen and dust

Almost 40% of the populace will experience an allergic reaction related to the eyes each year. An over-the-counter antihistamine can often clear things up quickly. Allergic pink eye is more persistent than its counterparts. Incessant itchiness and constant irritability are common. Certain allergic reactions can even cause a condition termed bullous chemosis.

Pink Eye Complications

Pink eye left untreated can lead to an emergency situation. If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately:

  • Degrading vision
  • Photosensitivity
  • An immovable pupil
  • Severe headaches with nausea
  • Severe redness found around the iris only

Diagnosing Pink Eye

A healthcare provider or eye specialist will carry out a diagnosis. It usually involves an eye inspection, determining the degree of irritation and redness. After a series of questions, the cause of pink eye is diagnosed. A sample of the discharge from your eyes may also be taken in order to detect the type of bacteria. However, in most cases this is unnecessary.

Pink eye is a condition that is easily diagnosed with a visual exam. PlushCare lets you treat pink eye online by supplying a real-time diagnosis via video chat with a leading healthcare professional. Within minutes, you’ll have a diagnosis and a treatment plan, including a prescription en-route to your local pharmacy.

Antibiotics For Pink Eye

If you are diagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis antibiotics will be prescribed as treatment.

Once you receive you antibiotics for pink eye the condition begins to clear rapidly. The bacteria will not be able to survive the treatment ceasing the symptoms and clearing your eyes.

Other Pink Eye Treatments

Most viral cases of pink eye will go away on their own over time. But there are treatments to help with symptom relief until the infection clears.

Eye drops containing an antihistamine are available as over-the-counter conjunctivitis treatment. Look for leading brands such as Ocuhist, ClearEyes, and Naphcon-A. Immune boosters can also help clear the condition quicker.

If your eyes are bothering you book a video diagnosis with PlushCare and get an official diagnosis and treatment plan today. It's faster than going to the doctor and you can have your prescription is a little as 15 minutes. Click here to book an appointment.

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Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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