Conjunctivitis and Your Eyes
Diagnosing Pink Eye
When your doctor is diagnosing pink eye, they will take a detailed health history and ask you about your symptoms. Your doctor will also examine your eyes. If you have a severe case of pink eye, you have affected corneas or have had recurring infections that are unresponsive to treatment, your doctor may take a sample of secretions to send to the laboratory.
If you have allergic conjunctivitis, meaning your pink eye is caused by allergens, your doctor may suggest you see an allergist and begin testing for what is causing the allergic reaction.
Bacterial conjunctivitis clears up in one to two weeks in more than half the patients that suffer from it. This can occur without any medication. However, your doctor can prescribe antibacterial ointment or eye drops for the condition if your symptoms are severe. The ointment may cause vision to blur for a short period of time, up to 20 minutes, just after application. Regardless of what your doctor prescribes you, your symptoms should begin clearing up after a few days of use. Talk to your doctor about what method of treatment is right for you and be careful to follow the treatment plan as directed.
Viral conjunctivitis may begin in one eye and subsequently infect the other eye after a few days have passed. When the virus has run its course (between one to two weeks) your signs and symptoms will clear up, but generally speaking, there is no treatment available for this kind of conjunctivitis.
If the herpes simplex virus causes your viral conjunctivitis then your doctor may prescribe antiviral medication.
Allergic conjunctivitis is a result of your body’s immune response to allergens and the production of histamines as a response. Your doctor may want to prescribe you a variety of eye drops for patients with allergies. These eye drops may include medications such as antihistamines, which combat the histamines in production. Your doctor may also prescribe eye drops that stop inflammation. These may include decongestants, steroids or anti-inflammatory eye drops.
There are several home remedies for pink eye. If you have the symptoms of pink eye, to relieve your discomfort you may want to consider applying a compress to your eyes. The compress should be a clean, lint-free cloth soaked in water but damp after being wrung out. Use it on your eyelids several times a day. Usually a cold water compress will be the best option and feel the most relieving, but if a warm compress relieves your symptoms better, feel free to use that option. If your pink eye is only affecting one eye, be careful not to infect the other eye by touching the cloth to both eyes.
Eye drops may be another good option for a home remedy. Over the counter eye drops, also known as artificial tears, may ameliorate your symptoms. Certain eye drops have medication in them such as antihistamines that may help with allergic conjunctivitis due to their ability to combat the histamines your body is producing.
If you have allergic conjunctivitis it may be helpful to avoid the substance or substances causing your symptoms, wash your clothes frequently, and/or bathe or shower before you go to sleep.
If you wear prescription contact lenses, you should stop using them until you are free of symptoms. Additionally, if your contacts are not disposable, wash them thoroughly before you use them again at the risk of re-infecting your eyes.
Consult Your Doctor
Pink eye, whether bacteria, allergens or a virus causes it, is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. You should know the causes of your symptoms, if there is a beneficial treatment option available, and how to access the medication you may need. If you are concerned about your eyes, or that you may have pink eye, schedule a visit with Dr. Ghosheh of Laser for Eyes. If you have more questions about pink eye or other eye conditions, you can also take a look at Dr. Ghosheh’s medical blog for further information.