Pink Eye Diagnosis and Treatment
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a very common, highly contagious condition. Pink eye is an inflammation of the thin clear tissue covering the white part of the eyeball and lining the inside of the eyelid. This lining is called the conjunctiva.
Pink eye is usually not serious, though it is very contagious and commonly spreads rapidly through schools and daycare centers. Prompt treatment helps to prevent any long-term problems. If it occurs in a newborn baby, however, the doctor needs to know right away because the infection may cause vision problems that may require urgent care.
Pink eye can be caused by bacteria or a virus. Some sexually transmitted diseases can cause a form of bacterial conjunctivitis that can be dangerous and lead to vision loss. Chlamydia can also cause conjunctivitis. Newborn babies passing through the birth canal can get pinkeye from mothers infected with the bacteria.
Irritation of the eye can be caused by seasonal allergies, a sty, inflammation of the gland along the eyelid and other problems that are not pink eye. Diagnosis will determine if you have pink eye or some other eye issue. Treatment for pink eye depends on the cause.
Viruses that cause the common cold can also cause pink eye. They do not respond to antibiotics and must run their course. This type can last four to seven days. If the conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can be used to cure it. Symptoms may go away before you use up all your medicine but be sure to follow your doctor’s orders. Antibiotics may be in the form of ointment, pills or eyedrops.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
Several things can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva. The symptoms you experience will depend on the cause of your pink eye. They include:
- Redness in the inner eye or white part of the eyeball
- Itchy or burning eyes
- Swollen conjunctiva
- Excessive tearing
- Thick yellow discharge crusts over the eyelashes
- Green or white discharge from the eye
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Swollen lymph nodes
Call your doctor for an exam if your eyes are secreting a large amount of green or yellow discharge or your eyelids are stuck together when you wake. You should also be evaluated if you have severe pain when you look into a bright light or if your vision is affected by the pink eye. Schedule an appointment if you experience a high fever, chills, facial pain or vision loss with pink eye. Infants with pink eye need to be seen right away. Dr. Michael sees patients for urgent care if you need immediate medical care.