Pink Eye: Four Facts
As the alarm rings, you try to open your eyes and prepare for the day. But one feels…stuck? You pry it open and look in the mirror, only to see redness and a goopy mess – pink eye. Pink eye, officially known as conjunctivitis, is very common, and happens when the inside layer of the eyelid (the conjunctiva) becomes inflamed. Pink eye can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergens. Following are four facts you should know about pink eye and how to relieve the itching, redness and other frustrating symptoms that come with the condition.
Pink eye is highly contagious
Conjunctivitis is very common among children, particularly those who are in daycare or school settings, but adults can also be infected. The illness is spread by touching your infected eye and then a surface, such as toys in a daycare, which then transmits the bacteria to another individual.
Hand washing is your best defense against pink eye
Hand hygiene is key in avoiding pink eye. It’s also important to try to resist the temptation to touch your eyes unless you have freshly washed hands.
Antibiotic eye drops may be necessary
Bacterial causes of pink eye will only clear up with an antibiotic eye drop. Signs of bacterial conjunctivitis include yellow or green discharge and sticky eyelids.
Call your doctor if you experience these symptoms
Some pink eye is caused by allergens or environmental irritants and will go away on its own. However, if you have bacterial conjunctivitis or symptoms that may be associated with another medical condition, you’ll need to contact your doctor. Symptoms that warrant a call to your doctor include:
- Yellow or green discharge from your eye
- Eyelids stuck together in the morning
- Severe pain in your eye when you look at bright light
- Vision impairment in the affected eye
- High fever, chills, face pain or vision loss
- Newborns with pink eye always require medical attention