Pink Eye Symptoms and Treatment: Clarify Your Eyes
Your eyes are important yet delicate organs. Unfortunately, they are prone to numerous diseases and disorders. At Choate Eye Associates, our ophthalmologists are committed to helping patients enjoy healthy, beautiful vision, so we can diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye conditions. One of the most common ocular conditions is conjunctivitis, an infection that affects approximately two percent of patients every year. This disease is often referred to as “pink eye” because it is characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the eye’s outer membrane. When the blood vessels in the conjunctiva swell, they give the eyes a red hue. Read on to learn more about pink eye symptoms and treatment from our experienced Nashville eye doctors.
Who Is At Risk?
Anyone can suffer from pink eye, under the right circumstances. However, you may be at higher risk for conjunctivitis if you:
- Suffer from allergies
- Wear contact lenses
- Work or live with young children (who are more susceptible to pink eye)
- Live in close quarters with other people, such as in a college dorm
The Three Types of Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis is a broad term that simply refers to the inflammation of the conjunctiva. There are several reasons your eye’s outer membrane may swell. The three primary types of pink eye include:
- Viral. This type of conjunctivitis is the most common, especially since it is highly contagious. As its name suggests, various viruses cause this condition.
- Allergic. If you suffer from allergies to dust, pollen, or pet dander, exposure to these substances can cause temporary conjunctivitis.
- Bacterial. Brought about by bacterial infection, this is the most serious form of pink eye, so it must be treated expediently.
Much less commonly, contact with chemicals or particulate matter can also cause pink eye. Some newborns also experience conjunctivitis because their tear ducts are not properly developed.
Common Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
Patients with pink eye may experience any or all of the following symptoms:
- A red or pink appearance of the eyes
- The feeling of a foreign substances, such as dust or dirt, in the eyes
- A stinging or burning sensation
- Green or yellow oozing discharge from the corners of the eyes
- Crusting over the eyes, which may make it difficult to open them upon waking
- An irritated, itchy feeling in the eye balls
- Excessive tearing
- Light sensitivity
- Respiratory symptoms
Contact us for assistance if you notice any of the above, especially if your conjunctivitis symptoms begin to interfere with your eyesight or daily life.
Diagnosing Your Condition
Since it has relatively obvious and straightforward symptoms, conjunctivitis is typically easy to diagnose. When you come in to our practice, one of our ophthalmologists will assess your eyes for signs of pink eye. If your eyes are producing discharge, we may also take a sample of this liquid to test it for bacteria, viruses, or other substances so we can determine the source of your condition.
Treatment Options for Pink Eye
We can help patients remedy all forms of conjunctivitis. Viral pink eye often goes away without treatment within a few weeks, but our doctors may provide antiviral eye drops or oral medications for more severe cases. If you suffer from bacterial pink eye, our ophthalmologists will prescribe antibiotic eye drops to fight the infection, which should clear up within a few days. For patients with allergic conjunctivitis, we often recommend avoiding contact with allergens and using medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, or antihistamines to control symptoms.
Choate Eye Associates Can Help You Enjoy Healthy Vision
Whether you’re suffering from conjunctivitis or another condition, our doctors can help you preserve and enhance your ocular health. Contact our ophthalmology practice today to learn more about our treatments or schedule a consultation.