What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is an infection of the membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball. When the blood vessels in this membrane become inflamed, they are visible, causing the eye to appear red or pink. Pink eye can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, allergic reactions, or an incompletely opened tear duct in babies.

Common symptoms of pink eye may affect tone or both eyes, and include:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • A gritty feeling
  • Discharge
  • Tearing

Both viral and bacterial pink eye is very contagious, and can be spread through contact with eye drainage. Because of this, family members and friends of the infected person should avoid touching their eyes with their hands, wash their hands frequently, and avoid sharing pillows, towels, and makeup with the infected person. It is advised that children with pink eye stay home from school and activities until it is cleared up.

Treatment for Pink Eye

Treatment for pink eye involves symptom relief. You may be encouraged to use artificial tears, clean your eyelids with a wet cloth, or apply cold or warm compresses. Those who wear contact lenses will need to stop wearing them until their treatment is completed. For viral pink eye, antibiotics are not effective, and the virus simply needs to run its course. For bacterial pink eye, an antibiotic can be prescribed to clear up the infection. Pink eye that is caused by a herpes virus can be treated with antiviral medication.

If you or a child is experiencing symptoms of pink eye, be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. A visit to Springfield Urgent Care can help to get your symptoms under control for a quick recovery.

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