It might sound festive, but pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is no party. Pinkeye presents as redness and swelling of the mucous membrane underneath the eyelid. As the infection worsens, the mucous lining becomes increasingly red and swollen. Small blood vessels in the conjunctiva (the membrane) become inflamed and cause the whites of the eyes to appear pinkish or reddish. If left untreated, pinkeye can damage the cornea and affect vision.
Seeing the Eye Doctor
Eye Exam for Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)An eye examination is needed to determine if pinkeye is present or if there’s another cause for your eye irritation. Our eye doctor will perform a visual exam and may take a sample of eye secretions. People with severe conjunctivitis or those with repetitive infections are more likely to require a laboratory analysis. During the appointment, let the doctor know about all of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and don’t hesitate to ask questions regarding your care.
While waiting for your appointment, take these steps to prevent the spread of pinkeye or to prevent the infection from getting even worse:
- Stop using contact lenses
- Wash hands frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes
- Don’t share towels or washcloths with others
Viral or bacterial conjunctivitis is common, but pinkeye can also be caused by a foreign object in the eye, a blocked tear duct or allergies. Our optometrists in Conway are experienced in the treatment of pinkeye no matter the cause. Symptoms are typically the same regardless of the origin of the infection:
- A feeling of grit being in one or both eyes
- Itchiness in the eye(s)
- Redness in the eye(s)
- Discharge from the eye(s)
- Crust forming in one or both eyes at night
Make an appointment with our eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms or if you’ve been exposed to viral or bacterial pinkeye.
Treatment for Pinkeye
Treatments for pinkeye are simple and effective, but the correct treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis you’re diagnosed with. An antibiotic ointment or drops will likely be prescribed to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is often left to run its course without treatment, though an antiviral medication may be indicated in some cases. When pinkeye is caused by allergies, antihistamines or other medications that help control inflammation may be prescribed.
A warm or cool compress on the affected eye can ease discomfort. Make a compress with a clean, lint-free washcloth and sterile water. Be careful not to touch the unaffected eye with a compress, or use the washcloth for any other purpose. Wash hands thoroughly before and after applying the compress. Over-the-counter eye drops may also offer temporary relief. Select the type labeled as “artificial tears.”
Please contact our office if you have any questions about the care or spread of pinkeye. At Vaught Eye Associates, we’re here to help support your vision and eye health on all levels.