Do I Have Conjunctivitis or Another Eye Problem?
Eye conditions can affect vision and cause discomfort. At GW Eye Associates, our doctors Gordon Wong and Wildon Wong offer examinations to assess the eyes and determine which treatments are best for your vision and eye health.
Conjunctivitis is a common condition for children going back to school, as well as adults, in La Jolla, CA, Carmel Valley, CA, and San Diego, CA. Knowing the signs and symptoms is key to preventing the spread of this often contagious eye condition and keeping our patients healthy.
What Is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, commonly called “pink eye,” is an inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane that lines the eye and eyelid. When the conjunctiva is inflamed, it can make the whites of the eye look pink or reddish.
Pink eye can be contagious, depending on the cause. Most pink eye is caused by a viral infection but it may also be caused by a bacterial infection or allergic reaction.
For most people, conjunctivitis doesn’t affect vision but it can be uncomfortable and sometimes causes blurred vision. Diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the spread of pink eye and alleviate symptoms.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
It’s important that families are aware of the symptoms of pink eye so that children who contract an infection at school can be treated as soon as possible and avoid spreading it to the rest of the family.
Some possible symptoms of pink eye include:
- One or both eyes appear red or pink
- One or both eyes feel itchy
- Tearing in one or both eyes
- An eye discharge that causes a crust to form during the night, sometimes preventing the eye from opening in the morning
- One or both eyes has a gritty feeling
- Light sensitivity
Other Conditions that Might Be Confused for Pink Eye
Pink eye is not the only condition that can cause eye redness, irritation, and discomfort. Other conditions can have similar symptoms, such as:
- Allergies: Exposure to dust, pollen, mold, or animal dander can irritate some peoples’ eyes and cause the eyes to become red and itchy.
- Dry eye syndrome: Poor tear quality or a lack of tears can cause the eyes to feel dry, red, and irritated. Even low humidity can lead to dry eyes. It’s common for Southern California to have dry weather during the beginning of the school year which can cause some children to experience dry eye syndrome.
- Stye: A stye is a small red bump that can form on the edge of the eyelid as a result of oil glands clogging and becoming infected.
- Iritis: Iritis is an inflammation of the iris of the eye usually caused by an injury or underlying medical condition.
- Keratitis: An infection of the cornea, called keratitis, can cause the eye to look red and have excessive tearing or discharge, making it easily confused for pink eye.
When to See a Doctor
Because the symptoms of pink eye are similar to many other eye conditions, it’s important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
An eye doctor can diagnose pink eye and other eye conditions and provide treatment to alleviate discomfort and improve eye health.
Contact GW Eye Associates
If you or a family member are experiencing the symptoms of pink eye, you are encouraged to contact GW Eye Associates to schedule an appointment.