Pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis or red eye) requires proper diagnosis. To effectively and quickly treat it, you must first identify which type of pink eye you have.
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Each type of pink eye requires a different kind of treatment. Therefore, it is crucial you obtain an official diagnosis and course of treatment, rather than attempting to treat it yourself. Our opticianss are experienced medical professionals. Allow us to diagnose and treat you properly.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is more commonly referred to as “pink eye”, though you may also hear it referred to as “red eye”. The three most common variants are – bacterial, viral, and allergic – and it is quite common, especially among school children.
The term “conjunctivitis” simply refers to an inflammation of the conjunctiva: the mucous membrane covering the white (or sclera) of your eye.
Types of Conjunctivitis
- Bacterial conjunctivitis – Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Because of this, it is important to stay away from heavily populated areas as much as possible; particularly schools and offices. This strain can be associated with an eyelid condition called blepharitis or with sinus infections.
- Viral conjunctivitis – Caused by several viruses (including those responsible for the common cold), viral conjunctivitis is also highly contagious. It typically begins in one eye, however, it can quickly spread to the other.
- Allergic conjunctivitis – Experienced by seasonal allergy sufferers, allergic conjunctivitis can also afflict those with non-seasonal allergies. This type of conjunctivitis is also sometimes referred to as “environmental conjunctivitis” and is easily treated.
- Obvious reddening of the eye and inner eyelid
- Watery eyes
- Eye discharge (may be yellow, green, or clear)
- A crust forming on the eye during sleep
- Itchy eyes
- A burning or stinging sensation from the eye, even when closed
- Sensitivity to light
- Impaired vision (blurry or hazy)
The treatment for conjunctivitis depends entirely on what type you have contracted, making correct diagnosis absolutely crucial. For example: treating viral or allergic conjunctivitis with antibiotics is not only ineffective, it promotes antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Our opticians will perform a thorough evaluation of your eye.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis – Severe infections are treated with oral or topical antibiotics. Many cases of bacterial conjunctivitis can be resolved by symptom management as the body fights the infection. However, if your infection doesn’t begin to clear up after several days, your opticians will most likely prescribe treatment.
- Viral conjunctivitis – Viral conjunctivitis has traditionally been left for the body to fight off through the immune system and symptoms were mitigated through palliative means. The only proven treatment involves using Betadine solution to bathe the eye, killing off the virus and resulting in a much quicker healing time and reduces the chance of spreading it.
- Allergic conjunctivitis – Perhaps the most annoying variation, treatment for allergic conjunctivitis centers around three areas: symptom management, removal of the allergen from your home/work areas and prescription eye drops. You may find it helpful to undergo allergy testing to determine what kind of stimulus is triggering the allergic reaction.
Symptom management focuses on improving your comfort while the issue clears. We have several options available to you from our office (eye drops and other topical treatments to relieve discomfort), and you can try at-home methods as well, such as warm or cool compresses. Even if you choose to try home remedies, it is crucial that you come in for an accurate diagnosis.
Our optometrists in Sidney, BC can help you with an array of eye conditions, including cataracts, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, diabetic eye exam, macular degeneration and more.
- Wash your hands frequently
- Isolate yourself from your peers until you have confirmed which strain of conjunctivitis you have
- See an eye doctor immediately to get a diagnosis – our doctors have emergency apointments available daily.
- Avoid touching your eyes or face
- Change the cloth used in your warm compress for each eye to avoid cross contamination
- Dispose of any cosmetics used around the eye since contracting the infection
- Go to work without obtaining a diagnosis
- Take antibiotics prior to a diagnosis
- Neglect personal hygiene (this can promote rapid spreading of the pathogen)