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Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is one of the most common complaints we see in our office at Lehigh Valley Eye Care Associates. The symptoms are well known to most people, especially the startling pinkish-red hue to the whites of the eye. Some forms of pink eye are extremely contagious, causing it to spread quickly through classrooms, daycare centers, and office settings. While some types of conjunctivitis will go away on their own, others can be more serious, making it important for you to come into our office whenever the symptoms appear.
Not every patient will get every pink eye symptom, but in most cases, you'll experience:
It can be difficult to figure out which type of pink eye you have because most of them share at least some of the same symptoms. In general, conjunctivitis has four main causes: bacteria, viruses, irritants, and allergens. If your pink eye is caused by irritants or an allergy, it's not contagious and your symptoms will clear up on their own, as soon as you remove the cause from your environment.
Pink eye caused by a virus or bacteria is extremely contagious, and care should be taken not to spread it to others. This means frequent hand washing, not sharing towels or washcloths, and keeping small children home.
Pink eye treatment depends, in part, on what type of pink eye you have. If yours is caused by a virus, it will clear up in a matter of days without any further treatment. You may want to apply cold compresses to your eyes on a regular basis, just to ease the irritating symptoms, but nothing you can do will speed up the healing. Just make yourself comfortable and wait for it to heal.
Bacterial conjunctivitis, on the other hand, needs medical intervention for healing. Our doctors will prescribe antibiotic ointment or eye drops to allow your eyes to heal.
If your pink eye is due to allergens or irritants, it's best to just treat the symptoms to make yourself more comfortable. Use cold compresses to relieve the itching and burning, wear sunglasses outdoors if the light irritates you, and take allergy medication as prescribed by your physician.
While conjunctivitis is common, there's no doubting that it can severely irritate your eyes and affect your daily lifestyle. In most cases, it will clear up on its own, but it's important to come into our office just in case it's a more serious version. Call our office at (610) 432-3258 today to schedule an appointment.