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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

More commonly referred to as “pink eye” or “red eye”, conjunctivitis takes up many forms and can be brought on through a variety of mechanisms. Because of this, if you are experiencing conjunctivitis symptoms it is important that you seek medical assistance to diagnose and treat it.

Different Types of Conjunctivitis
As alluded to earlier, conjunctivitis has more than one cause and more than one treatment as a result. The most common forms of conjunctivitis are:

  • Viral conjunctivitisA highly contagious form of conjunctivitis that is commonly spread via airborne mechanisms (such as coughing or sneezing).

    Treatment of viral conjunctivitis typically addresses symptoms, leaving the virus to run its course (generally in about a week to ten days). Depending on the severity of the infection, treatments for the symptoms may last for up to two weeks.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis Also highly contagious, bacterial conjunctivitis is spread through contact with infected people, as a runny nose or other type of transmission source.

    Antibiotics are an effective treatment against this form of pink eye and can be found in the form of eye drops or ointments. Treatment can last up to two weeks.

  • Allergic conjunctivitis This form of pink eye is often environmental, making it more difficult to treat and eliminate permanently. Our Optometrist will work with you to identify the source of your allergy, though it is commonly triggered by things like pollen, dander, dust mites, and other known allergens.

Conjunctivitis Symptoms
Different forms of conjunctivitis may produce slightly different symptoms, though all forms tend to produce similar effects:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Eye discharge
  • Inflamed eye, pink eye
  • Pink or red bumps on the eye, underneath contact lenses, or underneath eyelids

Where the symptoms differ is in their root causes. It is possible to have pink eye as a result of your contact lenses irritating the eye when worn, smoke irritating the eye, as well as allergies and bacterial/viral causes.

Conjunctivitis Treatment
In most cases, treatment takes the form of eye drops or ointments and runs for one to two weeks. It is important to remember that in order to properly treat pink eye, it must first be properly diagnosed. Due to the varied causes of conjunctivitis it is important that you see an Optometrist to determine its cause and effective treatment.

If your pink eye is caused from contacts, you may need to switch brands or types until you find a lens that does not continue to irritate the eye and cause pink eye. This may mean switching to gas permeable or disposable contact lenses.

If your conjunctivitis is caused by environmental factors (allergens), we will help you uncover the specific allergen so that you can work to eliminate it from your home. In these cases, removal of the allergen usually clears the conjunctivitis shortly thereafter.

Click here to learn more about how we treat pink eye.