Pink Eye: How to Recognize It and Address It

Pink eye can appear suddenly, and last for days or even weeks if unaddressed, depending upon the type. Here is what you should know about this common eye infection. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Conjunctivitis – commonly known as pink eye – is an eye infection that causes inflammation and discomfort. Here is what you need to know about this eye disease.

Conjunctivitis can be viral or bacterial.

The principal types of pink eye are viral conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis. Both forms are extremely contagious, and both can cause significant discomfort.

  • Viral conjunctivitis causes redness, discomfort, and thin, watery secretions from the eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, and can be spread by the coughs of an infected person. There are no medications for viral conjunctivitis, and it can take up to two weeks to clear up on its own. However, warm compresses can help mitigate the inflammation and the pain.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterized by pus-like discharge from one or both eyes, slight swelling, redness, itching, and discomfort. Bacterial conjunctivitis spreads via direct contact from an infected person. It can be treated quickly with antibiotics, but can last a few weeks if untreated.

Some forms of conjunctivitis stem from allergic reactions.

Occasionally, conjunctivitis can be the result of an irritant or allergy. Generally, allergy medications and limiting exposure to certain allergens will prevent the onset of allergy-triggered conjunctivitis (known as Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis), but it can also be caused by failure to maintain contact lenses properly.

You can reduce your risk of conjunctivitis by following a few basic guidelines.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching any surface.
  • Always cough or sneeze into your arm.
  • Do not touch your eyes with your bare hands – use a tissue if possible.
  • Do not ever use anyone else’s contact solution, eye makeup, or eye drops.
  • Always take out your contact lenses before swimming.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of conjunctivitis – discharge, pain, itching, inflammation — don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with an optometrist to determine the best course of action. OptiExpress is one of South Florida’s leading eye care centers, providing thorough eye care services in addition to having a designer gallery of eyewear and one-hour on-site services.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington was voted best optometrist by the community of Cape Coral, Florida. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.