“Pink Eye” is typically due to a viral eye infection. The same virus that is associated with the “common cold” called adenovirus. Most “Pink Eye” patients have a history of an upper respiratory infection or recent sick contacts. The signs include a clear discharge and red eyes also known as conjunctivitis. The symptoms can include burning, itching, and a foreign body sensation. It usually begins in one eye then is transmitted to a second eye within days. Patients can have swollen lymph nodes, hemorrhages, and in certain cases a membrane can form over the surface of the eye. The surface of the eye can have small deposits in very advanced cases.
“Pink Eye” is treated with artificial tears and cold compresses. Routine antibiotics are highly discouraged. It usually resolves within two weeks, but is highly contagious. Patients should avoid touching their eyes or sharing towels with other people. Others are at risk for contracting the infection as long as the patient’s eyes are red with discharge. Patients should stay away from elderly or immunocompromised people because of the high likelihood of transmitting the infection.
“Pink Eye” can be confused with other eye infections, allergies, or inflammation. The warming signs that you may have more than “Pink Eye” include:
- If your symptoms are not improving over 2-3 days
- If your vision is poor
- if the discharge is not clear