Frequently Asked Questions About Pink Eye

Michelle Hopkins

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and eyelid. This is typically caused by a bacterial or viral infection that is, fortunately, quite easy to diagnose and treat. Symptoms tend to include itching and burning of the eyes, tearing up, discharge, and swelling. If you think you may have pink eye, it is important to pay close attention to these questions and answers about conjunctivitis.

What treatment is available for those with conjunctivitis?

Doctors advise that patients allow the virus to run its course and let the immune system to do its job. Often, pink eye accompanies a common cold or flu. When this issue clears up, the pink eye may as well. Fortunately, treatment is available in the form of ointment or drops. If the cause is bacterial, a doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.

How do patients prevent pink eye in the future?

You may be able to prevent pink eye by keeping your hands clean and away from your eyes. You can prevent a future outbreak by washing all your belongings, like clothing, pillows, and blankets, in hot water. Additionally, do not share your makeup brushes and always be careful when inserting and removing your contact lenses.

What are common causes of pink eye?

Pink eye is often caused by infection, but it may also be related to dry eyes, often a result of exposure to intense wind. Additionally, you may experience conjunctivitis caused by smoke, fumes, chemicals, or allergies.

Is pink eye contagious?

Yes. Pink eye is contagious whether it is caused by virus or bacteria. It is important not to share materials if you or somebody else is experiencing pink eye. This includes towels and wash cloths.

Does pink eye affect more than one eye at once?

Yes, sometimes. Pink eye can affect just one eye or both.

Should I see a physician if I think I have pink eye?

Generally, yes. If you experience the symptoms, it is a good idea to seek assistance. This is especially because the condition can be contagious. You should also stop using your contact lenses immediately. Make an appointment if you do not see any results within the first day of contracting red, puffy eyes. It could be that your condition is more serious than you initially believe it to be. This is especially the case if you experience pink eye that seems to influence your vision or cause intense pain.

Click here for info about pink eye and how a primary care physician might treat the condition.