What to Know About Pink Eye
You have probably heard of pink eye before, or experience the itching, redness, and runny eye condition yourself. It is an infection called conjunctivitis, and while it is not usually dangerous there are still a few things you should know. Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center and our experienced optometrists are here to help!
Types of Pink Eye
Did you know there are different types of pink eye? They all tend to feel the same with itchy, crusty eyes, but they have different causes and it is important to know the difference if you or a loved one come down with symptoms.
- Viral: Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus that has infected the eye. This type of pink eye is very contagious and not easily treated, so it is important to take the right precautions. This type of pink eye is also more likely to come with additional symptoms like a sore throat or lung infection.
- Bacterial: In this case, the pink eye is caused by a bacterial infection. This is also very easily spread but can be treated more effectively with antibiotics if necessary. It may be more likely to come from an ear infection or similar problem.
- Allergen: This type of pink eye is caused by serious eye irritation typically related to allergies. It tends to strike contact lens wearers more frequently. The good news is that it is not infectious like the other versions and cannot be passed to another person.
Spreading Pink Eye
Pink eye is notorious for being easy to spread, and for good reason. Both the viral and bacterial versions can be spread to other people through direct contact, or through airborne contact, or by touching something that an infected person has also touched. Children can spread pink eye very easily because of this – and how easy it is to scratch your eye makes the problem even worse.
To help prevent the spread of pink eye, it is important to frequently wash your eye and your hands. You should also thoroughly wash your clothes and sheets to help prevent transmission. Wearing an eye patch helps reduce the urge to scratch the eye and can make transmission less likely, too. And, while it may be obvious, you should stay away from public areas like pools where transmission is extremely easy.
The Dangers of Pink Eye
Pink eye is rarely extremely dangerous. However, anyone with a compromised immune system, as well as newborns, should immediately consult their doctors if they come down with symptoms. In some cases, pink eye can develop into other, serious conditions. Those will previously eye injuries or a lot of pain during pink eye should also quickly consult a doctor to see if they need to do anything else.
Pink Eye Treatments and Timeline
Pink eye may not need any prescription treatment from an optometrist, but lubricating eyedrops can often help treat symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if necessary. Pink eye can clear up in anywhere from several days to a couple of weeks, so it is important to continue taking precautions until symptoms subside entirely.
For any questions, contact Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center today. We help patients throughout Lewiston, Lisbon, Sabattus, and Greene: Let us know what we can do for you!