Pink eye. We’ve all heard of it, and most of us have either experienced the unpleasant eye disease or known someone who has. Often associated with school-aged children, pink eye occurs when the eye becomes infected by a virus, bacteria, or an allergy. Also known as conjunctivitis, the term pink eye is fitting because when the eyes become infected, they turn pink and often swell as a result. The good news is that pink eye is a very common eye problem that is easily treated, as long as you seek care as soon as possible. Here at Urgentology Care, we treat both children and adults for pink eye on a regular basis. We understand how frustrating and painful this condition can be, especially for young kids who have never experienced anything like it before. This is why we encourage you to come into our urgent care center right away if you suspect pink eye. The sooner we are able to treat it, the better.
What is Pink Eye?
Before we dive into the symptoms, causes, and treatment options, let’s take a closer look at what, exactly, pink eye is. Pink eye is an inflammation of the thin covering of the white of the eye and the inner parts of the eyelids (conjunctiva). Even though the conjunctiva is clear, it contains a network of blood vessels that crisscross over the sclera of the eye. When a virus or bacteria leads to inflammation, it can cause these little blood vessels to dilate, resulting in red, bloodshot eyes.
Pink Eye Symptoms
While anyone can get pink eye, the majority of cases involve preschoolers, schoolchildren, college students, teachers, and daycare workers. These groups are more at risk than others because they work closely with other people in infection-prone settings. Washing your hands as often as possible and avoiding touching your eyes when working with sick children is one of the best preventative measures a person can take, but this system is not foolproof.
Some of the most common symptoms of pink eye include:
- Pink discoloration in one or both eyes
- Redness in and around the eyelid
- A liquid discharge that can form a ‘crust’ overnight
- Puffy, swollen eyes
- Swollen inner lining of the eyes
- Watery eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Blurred vision
- A gritty feeling that makes you think there is something in the eye
If you or your child are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please come into our urgent care center right away. Pink eye is extremely contagious and the best way to avoid passing it to other family members, children, or co-workers is by coming in for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Common Causes of Pink Eye
There are several different causes of pink eye, including:
- Viral conjunctivitis – This type of pink eye is caused by a virus, such as the common cold. While it is extremely contagious, it typically clears up in several days either on its own or with medical treatment.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis – This type of pink eye can cause long-term damage to the eye if left untreated, which is why it is imperative you come into Urgentology Care right away if you suspect you have developed pink eye.
- Allergic conjunctivitis – The final type of pink eye is caused by common eye irritants, including pollen, dust, and animal dander. Many people experience allergic conjunctivitis during specific seasons, such as when pollen is heavy in the air.
Treating Pink Eye
The treatment of pink eye will depend on the type of conjunctivitis you have. As mentioned above, viral conjunctivitis usually goes away on its own over the course of several days. While no medical treatment is required, there are several things you can do at home to expedite the process, such as applying a cold, wet washcloth to the eyes.
Bacterial conjunctivitis, on the other hand, requires medical attention and a prescription antibiotic eye drops or ointments. Again, if this type of pink eye is left untreated, it could cause serious damage to the eyes. Because it can be difficult to determine which type of pink eye you have, always come into urgent care if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Allergic conjunctivitis can be remedied with common allergy medications, in most cases. If you know you are prone to developing pink eye because of pollen or other allergens, it may help to start taking allergy medications before allergy season starts. This is something you can discuss with your primary care physician or with one of the experienced doctors here at Urgentology Care.
How Urgent Care Can Help with Pink Eye
Pink eye is easy to treat, as long as you seek care and do not ignore your symptoms. In many cases, eye infections and dry eyes are associated with conjunctivitis, and bacterial conjunctivitis can lead to extremely serious eye conditions, such as ulcers and even permanent vision loss. This is why it is so important you seek care from our urgent care center at the first sign of red or irritated eyes. If you are someone who wears contacts, be sure and remove your contacts immediately and throw them away. Pink eye is very contagious and can spread without the patient even realizing it.
Here at Urgentology Care, it is our desire to provide patients of all ages with the immediate care and attention they need. If you suspect pink eye or are unsure about your symptoms, please come into our urgent care clinic right away. We will be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and get you the treatment you need to make a full recovery. We know how irritating pink eye can be, and we are here to help you find the relief you need. For more information about pink eye symptoms, causes, or treatment, please contact Urgentology Care today.
Important: If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room. Information in this site is not intended to be used as a diagnosis for your symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention or visit Urgentology Care.