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Pink Eye: Ways of Treating Conjunctivitis

By Gordon Wong, OD on February 17, 2016


A person with pink eye (conjunctivitis)The team at GW Eye Associates Inc believes that patients should have great vision and healthy eyes, allowing them to enjoy the best that life has to offer. Patients throughout San Diego can count on us to help them see a little better.

We offer a number of treatments for eye conditions and vision problems, including tips for preventing these problems. With this in mind, let's look at pink eye and what can be done to help patients suffering from this kind of eye infection.

About Pink Eye

Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is a type of eye infection that affects the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane lining the inside of the eyelid and that lies over the white portion of the eye. The inflammation of the blood vessels on the white of the eye causes the eye to appear pink or red, which is how pink eye got its name.

Pink eye can affect one eye or both eyes, and while it is an irritating condition, it thankfully does not have an adverse effect on your vision.

Causes of Pink Eye

The most common causes of pink eye include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Allergies
  • Irritants or objects affecting the eye

Symptoms and Signs of Pink Eye

In addition to the pinkness or redness of the whites of the eyes, other symptoms of pink eye include:

  • A gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Watery discharge from the eyes (typical of viral conjunctivitis)
  • Thick yellow-green discomfort from the eyes (typical of bacterial conjunctivitis)
  • Itchiness and excessive tearing (typical of allergic conjunctivitis)

Common Treatment Options for Pink Eye

The best treatment for pink eye will depend on the nature of your condition:

  • When it comes to treating bacterial conjunctivitis, your best bet will often be the use of antibiotic eyedrops or ointments depending on the nature of your infection. Many times the condition will clear up on its own without the need for medication, which can take a week or so.

  • When it comes to treating viral conjunctivitis, the best option is often to let the virus run its course, which can take up to two weeks. Antiviral medication may be prescribed if the conjunctivitis was caused by the herpes simplex virus.

  • When it comes to treating allergic conjunctivitis, most doctors will prescribe drugs that help keep allergic reactions under control, such as anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines.

When you have pink eye, it's important that you stop wearing contacts in order to prevent the condition from getting worse. Washing your hands and trying to avoid rubbing your eyes is also very important.

In addition, patients may be asked to apply a cool water compress to their eye to help soothe the irritation. Over-the-counter eyedrops are also recommended to help relieve itchiness and irritation.

Tips for Preventing Pink Eye

To prevent contracting pink eye, consider these simple tips:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your eyes
  • Avoid sharing unclean towels, linens, pillows
  • Never share your eye makeup
  • Never share your contact lenses, containers, or solution
  • Never share eye medicine
  • Wear eye protection when in windy or dangerous environments

Contact GW Eye Associates Inc

To learn more about treating pink eye and other types of eye infections and conditions that affect the health of your vision, be sure to contact our team of eye care specialists today. The entire team at GW Eye Associates Inc looks forward to your visit and helping you have the best vision possible.

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Dr. Wong and his staff have proven to be the best eye doctor that I have ever visited. He is extremely thorough and up-to-date professionally. He gives you plenty of time. I never feel rushed.

Kathrine Holladay

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