The Symptoms and Treatment of Pink Eye

by May 22, 2023

Pink eye, commonly known as viral conjunctivitis, is an eye condition that affects people of all ages. While children are more commonly seen with pink eye, adults are equally susceptible to viral infections. Below are details of the causes, symptoms, detection, prevention, and treatment of pink eye.


What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is an infection caused by a virus (same as the common cold or respiratory infection) affecting one or both eyes. The virus infects the eyes instead of the respiratory tract, and the immune response starts fighting the infection, which causes signs and symptoms.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye?

The most common symptom of pink eye is a pink or red coloration of the eye, usually uniform in color throughout the entire eye. Other symptoms include itchy, irritated eyes, watery or sticky eyes, blurred vision, inflamed eyelids, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Signs of pink eye usually found on eye exams include the presence of follicles on the inside of the eyelids, inflamed blood vessels in the eyes, and pseudomembranous secretion on the eyelids.


How Contagious is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Pink eye is highly contagious and spreads quickly through contact with viral particles which are spread through tears, respiratory droplets, and surfaces that are contaminated with the virus.

The virus can survive on surfaces for a few days, making it very easy for the virus to spread in a small or confined area. Pink eye outbreaks commonly occur in daycares and schools.

This is why pink eye is a high priority for these institutions and is a reason to miss several days until no longer contagious.


How do you Prevent Spreading?

Preventing the spread of pink eye is paramount once it has been identified. Frequently washing hands, and avoiding the sharing of towels, bedding, cosmetics, and eye drops can help in preventing the spread of the virus.

Disinfecting regularly touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and remotes with cleaners that contain antimicrobial agents can also help mitigate the risk of infection.


How do you Treat Pink Eye?

Since pink eye is a viral infection, antibiotics cannot treat it. In most cases, managing the symptoms and reducing the spread of the virus is the best course of action.

To manage symptoms such as redness, itchiness, and watering eyes, artificial tears or corticosteroids may be prescribed.

Patients with more severe infections can receive Betadine wash, which is conducted in an eye care office by a professional.


When to See Your Optometrist

If you suspect you or someone you know has pink eye, an eye doctor should be seen within the next day.

This allows the best, most efficient diagnosis and to begin treatment and isolation if needed.


Taking preventative measures and seeking the advice of an eye doctor once pink eye symptoms appear can be helpful in treating and preventing the spread of the disease.

In addition, seeking medical treatment can also ensure that any underlying conditions, such as allergies or injuries, are identified and treated accordingly.


Our eye doctor at Brooklyn Eye Care excels in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses, and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrist at (763) 999-6116 to schedule your appointment today if you would like to learn more about pink eye. Our eye doctor, Dr. Vivian Ekemezie provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in the Brooklyn Park, MN area. 

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