Your Guide to Pink Eye

Think you have the infamous PINK EYE? This is the ultimate guide to pink eye or viral conjunctivitis. We will talk about the symptoms of pink eye, the causes of pink, and home remedies for pink eye. Is pink eye an emergency eye care need? So, without further fan fair let’s jump right into the information.

What Can Cause the Eye to be Red

While lots of things can cause a conjunctivitis not all of them are pink eye. The cause of pink eye is a virus. This virus is very similar to the common cold and there are hundreds of different versions that can cause viral conjunctivitis. Some are very weak and don’t cause very bad symptoms, but others are very strong and can cause things like pseudomembranes. In this article, I am going to ignore the bacteria, fungal, and parasite causes of conjunctivitis so that we can focus on the “true” pink eye information.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

There are lots of symptoms of viral conjunctivitis and some are very common to have, but when enough of them are happening at the same time it makes it more likely to have a viral conjunctivitis. Below is a list of common symptoms with pink eye;

  • swollen lymph node in front of ear (preauricular)
  • watery eyes
  • redness or pink tinge to the white of the eye
  • thick yellow discharge
  • itchy eyes
  • burning eyes
  • light sensitivity
  • blurred vision

Home Remedies for Pink Eye

While just like the common cold there are no cures for pink eye there are things we can do to limit this highly contagious virus from spreading to friends and family. There are also things we can do to help alleviate the discomfort that is felt from the virus. Keep reading to hear what can be done to help make the eye more comfortable while dealing with pink eye.

Stop wearing contacts and throw the old ones away. This will get rid of the sponge that has virus all in it that we typically call a contact lens.

Change your pillow case to lower the chances of spreading the virus to the other eye when you rollover in your sleep.

Take some ibuprofen to help alleviate some of the pain or irritation.

Use some artificial tears to help flush some the viral particles away from the eye and to keep the mucus from building up in the area and irritating the eye more.

What to avoid

Don’t use eye drops that “get the red out”. These drops can cause more irritation to the eye with the viral infection. Plus, the way these drops “get the red out” is by shrinking arteries (unless it is Lumify then it shrinks the veins). The body is trying to send virus fighting cells to the area through the arteries and if we shrink these arteries it will make it harder for the body to get those cells to the eye.

Don’t put breast milk in the eye. I have heard lots of wives tales in my exam lanes over the years. Breast milk in the eye is not the strangest and has some logic behind it, but it still isn’t helpful. While I do believe in the amazing powers of breast milk there has been some research done on whether or not the properties in breast milk can fight off the viruses that cause pink eye and the conclusion was that it didn’t help any more than artificial tears.

When to reach out to an Eye Doctor

  • eyelids are stuck together in the morning
  • have been when looking in bright lights
  • have blurry vision
  • are under 2 years old (well have an adult call)
  • symptoms last longer than 7 days

Lastly, just because the eye is a little red or pink does not always mean it is a viral conjunctivitis. There things like uveitis, iritis, bacterial infections, allergies, episcleritis, and many other things can cause problems that look similar. If ever in doubt seek medical help from a trained optometrist to get things fixed up quickly. Never use expired drops or eye drops you got for other infections because a drop that is good for allergies can sometimes make a bacterial infection worse. Not all eye drops are created equal when it comes to eye problems. Even if the eye problem feels very similar.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Leave a comment on how often you have had a viral conjunctivitis and if you had it in only one eye or in both of your eyes.

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Dr. Thirion

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