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Pink Eye – Causes and Treatment

Pink Eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a very common eye condition in which the normally clear mucus membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface, known as the conjunctiva, becomes swollen and red or pinkish in color.  Blood vessels are dilated in the inflicted area to bring in nutrients and other blood components to neutralize the adverse condition.

Most cases of pink eye are caused by viral or bacterial infections, dry eyes from lack of tears or exposure to the elements, allergies, chemicals or smoke. The term “pink eye” usually refers to a viral or bacterial infection.

Pink eye caused by viruses or bacteria is highly contagious, and keeping it from spreading is extremely important. Viral and bacterial pink eye is the leading type and is most often spread through poor hand washing or sharing an object like a washcloth or towel with someone that has pink eye.

Pink Eye Treatment at Our Optometry Practice in Huntington Beach, CA

Antibiotics can be used to treat a bacterial infection. However, even though anti-viral medications are available, a viral infection is usually not treated, and waiting it out is the common way to be rid of it.

With viral and bacterial pink eye, one should expect swelling and irritation of the eyelids, watery eyes and clear or slightly thick drainage. This drainage may also cause the eyelids to stick together when a person first wakes up in the morning or after a nap. Thick mucus deposit is one among the signs of a bacterial infection.

Pink eye due to bacterial or viral infection usually runs its course over 5 to 7 days, but has been known to sometimes last as much as 3 weeks and may become ongoing or chronic.

If you have pink eye, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent spreading it:

  • Wash your hands before or after touching the eyes or face.
  • Do not share eye makeup, eye drops, contact lenses, towels, linens, pillows, or handkerchiefs. Use clean linens, towels, and washcloths daily.
  • Do no wear eye makeup while still suffering from pink eye, since you run the risk of re-infecting yourself
  • Do not wear contact lenses while still infected, since you may make the infection worse or re-infect yourself.
  • When cleaning drainage out from your eye, always clean from inside, toward your nose, to the outside, toward your cheek.

Fortunately, pink eye is not a serious illness; patience and a bit of caution is all you require, in most cases, to get through it. For more information, contact Dr. Tran of Healthy Eye Center Family Optometry today.