Conjunctivitis is common among children, but can also affect adults. Pink eye symptoms are uncomfortable, and it needs to be treated to avoid spreading the disease to other people. Pink eye is highly contagious, so it should be treated by a doctor at the first sign of symptoms.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Pink eye is a bacterial or viral infection of a membrane on the eye. Small blood vessels in the eye burst because of the inflammation, and this causes your eyes to get red, which gives the disease its nickname.
Pink eye is uncomfortable, but it should not affect vision. See a doctor when you notice pink eye symptoms for treatment and to prevent spreading it to other people.
Pink eye symptoms include:
Pink eye is contagious for up to two weeks after the first symptoms. Your doctor will be able to diagnose pink eye by examining the area. He may take a sample of the secretion to determine if it is a bacterial or viral infection.
Your doctor will prescribe antibacterial eye drops for infections caused by bacteria. For younger children, the doctor may prescribe an ointment and not eye drops because it is easier to administer. Symptoms will go away in a few days, but you should take all of your medication as prescribed.
There is no treatment for conjunctivitis caused by a virus. The virus will take up to three weeks to run its course and for symptoms to disappear. Viral conjunctivitis is often spread from one to both eyes quickly, so be very careful touching your eye. Wash bed sheets and pillow cases daily. Do not share towels or clothing with anyone during this time.
A warm compress can help reduce swelling and help you find some relief while the medication works. Be very careful not to let the compress touch your other eye, and wash the cover in very hot water after each use.