Give Pink Eye the Stink Eye

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Is your eye pink and itchy? Did you wake up with swollen, crusty eyelids? There’s a

good chance pink eye might just be the culprit.

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is an infection of the thin layer of the eye

called the conjunctiva. This transparent membrane lines the eyelid and covers the

whites of your eyes. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed or

infected, they’re more visible and cause your eye to appear reddish or pink.

What Causes Pink Eye?

Viruses cause most cases of pink eye, but bacteria can also produce the infection, from

sources like improperly cleaned contact lenses. The Mayo Clinic states that both viral

and bacterial conjunctivitis can occur if you have a cold or respiratory infection, and both

types are also very contagious and can spread through direct or indirect contact with

drainage from an infected eye. Other causes can include allergies, a chemical splash or

foreign object in the eye, or, in newborns, a blocked tear duct.

Common Symptoms

Unlike some other infections, pink eye is easy to detect. This is because the most

common symptom is redness in one or both eyes. According to the CDC, other

symptoms may include:

• Swelling of the conjunctiva and/or eyelids

• Increased tear production

• Sensation of a foreign body in the eye(s)

• An urge to rub the eye(s)

• Itching, irritation and/or burning

• Discharge (pus or mucus)

• Crusting of eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning

• Contact lenses that feel uncomfortable and/or do not stay in place on the eye

Treating the Infection

Usually, pink eye goes away on its own within a week or two, depending on the type

and severity of your infection. During that time, it’s best to stay away from wearing

contacts, makeup or other things that make contact with your eyes. If your infection is

bacterial, you can use over-the-counter painkillers and lubricating eye drops to ease the

irritation. Applying a cool compress to your eyes can also help ease the burning.

Tips for Prevention

The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests a few ways to avoid spreading and

contracting pink eye:

• Change pillowcases and sheets regularly

• Use a fresh towel every day

• Wash your hands often, especially after you touch your eyes

• Don’t wear contact lenses while your eye is still infected

• Don’t share anything that touches your eyes

• Throw away any infected objects that touched your eyes

If the pain is extreme and/or symptoms get worse, contact your doctor about the best

treatment options for you.

Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.

When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Mid City, Bocage, Southdowns, and now­­,­ Delmont.

Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment, but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.