Pink eye might look and sound scary, but it is a common and easily treatable eye irritation. Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye most commonly affects those working in close proximity to one another. While anyone can get pink eye, schoolchildren, college students, teachers, and daycare workers are at a higher risk. Understanding the symptoms and causes is the best strategy for pink eye prevention.
What is pink eye?
Pink eye is inflammation in the clear covering of the white part of the eye. It is a highly contagious viral infection caused by several types of viruses.
Symptoms of pink eye
• Pink appearance in the eye
• Watery eyes
• Itchy eyes
• Sticky eye discharge
• Waking up with eyes stuck shut
What causes pink eye?
A virus, such as the common cold, causes viral conjunctivitis. Typically, this will clear up on its own after a few days.
Bacteria entering the eye causes bacterial conjunctivitis. Doctors treat this type of conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergy irritants, which could include pollen, dust, and animal dander.
Tips for pink eye prevention
1. Do not share washcloths, hand towels, or tissues.
2. Never share contact lenses (prescription, colored, or special effect).
3. Cover your mouth when coughing.
4. Wash your hands, often.
5. Use hand disinfectants or hand sanitizers frequently.
6. Clean shared surfaces such as counters, door handles, faucet handles, and phones.
7. Properly clean your contact lens.
8. Wear swim goggles to prevent bacteria from entering your eyes.
9. Before going into the water of any kind, remove your contact lenses.
Pink Eye Q&A
How long does pink eye last?
Depending on the type of infection you have it can last a few days to a few weeks. If you experience prolonged discomfort or suspect you have pink eye, give us a call to schedule your next appointment today.
How long is pink eye contagious?
It can be contagious for several days to several weeks, depending on the type of infection.
How long should I wait to return to work or school after pink eye?
Typically, you may return once the signs of pink eye are gone. Usually ranging from 3 to 7 days. Check with the facility to see if they have specific requirements for returning after experiencing pink eye.
Is there a strategy for pink eye prevention if someone else in my house has the infection?
The best way to avoid contracting pink eye in close quarters is to clean all surfaces touched by the infected individual, frequently wash your hands, and avoid sharing washcloths and towels.
Do I need to come to the doctor if I think I have pink eye?
We recommend visiting our office if you have symptoms of an eye infection.
Please call our office if you have further questions about pink eye or any other eye disease or condition. Our core focus at Advanced Eyecare Professionals is “To Provide Exceptional Vision Care & Education.” Our doctors and staff are always happy to answer any questions, and provide additional education on specific eye diseases or conditions during your appointment.