Pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis) is usually a relatively mild eye infection. Pink eye symptoms include pinkness or redness in the eyes, swollen eyelids, itching, and burning. Since pink eye passes quickly, treatment has more to do with prevention than serious medical care.
Pink Eye Causes
The causes of pink eye are more various than symptoms might suggest. The swelling and discoloration associated with the eye infection occur when eyes become irritated by bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or foreign objects like dust, chemicals, pollen, or even contact lenses. Pink eye is also called conjunctivitis because eyes typically respond to these factors with a swelling and reddening of the conjunctiva, the thin mucous membrane covering the outer eye.
Pink Eye Symptoms
Aside from the tell-tale pink or red eye, symptoms of conjunctivitis include swollen eyelids, inflammation, irritation, an itching or burning sensation, and excessive tears. In general these effects will not cause inordinate discomfort or pain and they should fade away in roughly one week.
Pink Eye Diagnosis
If typical symptoms of conjunctivitis develop, patients are probably experiencing a pink eye infection. To make sure, or if symptoms linger beyond 10 days or become extreme, an appointment with an eye specialist should be arranged. He or she will examine the eyes and question the patient to determine the cause of infection. Only rarely will samples need to be collected for more intensive lab tests. Based on examination results and the patient’s answers, the doctor will be able to determine the most appropriate pink eye treatment.
Pink Eye Treatment
Pink eye rarely becomes very serious and usually disappears within seven to 10 days. In most cases, the best approach to conjunctivitis is simply to let it run its course while taking steps to make oneself as comfortable as possible. Effective prevention includes regular hand washing and refraining from sharing things like washcloths, towels, pillowcases, eye drops, and cosmetics. If pink eye becomes unusually uncomfortable, treatment using warm compresses on affected eyes can alleviate the effects of irritation. In some cases, doctors may determine that contact lenses are causing the eye infection, and they may recommend that patients replace them with a different type of lens or with glasses. On the rare occasion that pink eye symptoms become truly serious, a doctor may decide to prescribe antibiotic eye drops.
Consult an Eye Doctor If You Suspect You Have a Pink Eye Infection
Are you uncertain of whether common pink eye symptoms like inflamed eyes, swollen eyelids, irritation, itching, or burning signal a pink eye infection or a more serious condition? If so, DocShop can help you locate an experienced conjunctivitis specialist in your area today. Together you’ll be able to establish whether you’re experiencing pink eye and determine which treatment will best alleviate your discomfort.