Pink Eye Treatment
Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is a common eye condition that occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed. The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane the lines the surface of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva is usually clear, but when it become irritated or infected, this delicate membrane can become red, swollen, and itchy. While most cases of pink eye will resolve on their own within 10 days, it is important to get checked by an optometrist or doctor when symptoms of pink eye appear.
What causes Pink Eye?
Pinkeye is most commonly caused by:
- A viral or bacterial infection (bacterial or viral conjunctivitis)
- Allergies (allergic conjunctivitis)
- Exposure to certain chemicals, smoke, or fumes (chemical conjunctivitis)
- Dry eyes due to sun or wind exposure or tear deficiencies
Viral and bacterial pink eye are very common in childhood. The viruses that cause pink eye are easily spread between children due to poor hand-washing technique or lack of hand-washing. When there is a pink eye outbreak in a school or nursery, parents should be notified and extra measures should be taken to prevent it from spreading further. Children with pink eye are typically asked to remain at home until their eyes have cleared to prevent infecting other students.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
The symptoms of pink eye vary between the different types. In general, the eye and inner eyelid will appear noticeably pink or red, hence the name “pinkeye.” Other symptoms may include pain, sticky discharge, itching, swelling of eyelids, sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing.
Treatment of Pink Eye
Treatment of pink eye depends upon the cause. In most cases of viral pink eye, no treatment is required and the eye will resolve on its own within a week. For bacterial pink eye, antibiotic eye drops may be given to clear up the infection more quickly. With antibiotic eye drops, pink eye can resolve within 2 to 4 days, while it can take up to 10 days without the eye drops. Allergic conjunctivitis is treated by avoiding known allergens, and/or using antihistamines and eye drops. When pink eye is caused by a virus, children can return to school after symptoms begin to improve. For bacterial conjunctivitis, children can return 24 hours if using antibiotic eye drops or when symptoms begin to improve.
When children have viral or bacterial pink eye, it is important that they wash their hands much more frequently to prevent the condition from spreading. Parents should model good hand washing behavior and encourage their children to frequently wash their hands at home and school.
Consulting with Dr. Semaan
If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of pink eye, we encourage you to make an appointment with Dr. Semaan immediately. It is important to identify the cause of pink eye so that you can get the appropriate treatment and prevent it from spreading further. Dr. Semaan is a board-certified optometrist who is experienced in treating all eye disorders, including the various forms of pink eye. Please contact our Orange County office today to set up your consultation.