With children back in the classroom, it is time to be aware of pink eye and other contagious diseases. Do you or your child have pink, itchy eyes? Pink eye – or conjunctivitis – is common and spreads easily. It sometimes needs medical treatment, depending on the cause. Know the symptoms and when to seek treatment.
Pink eye is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in the world in both children and adults. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color.
Four Main Causes of Pink Eye
There are four main causes of pink eye
- Viruses, Bacteria, Allergens (like pet dander or dust mites), Irritants (like smog or swimming pool chlorine) that infect or irritate the eye and eyelid lining
It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of pink eye because some signs and symptoms may be the same no matter the cause.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
The most common pink eye symptoms include:
- Redness in one or both eyes
- Itchiness in one or both eyes
- A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
- A discharge in one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night that may prevent your eye or eyes from opening in the morning
When to visit UNI Urgent Care?
Most cases of pink eye are mild; some get better on their own, even without treatment. However, there are times when it is important to see a healthcare provider for specific treatment and/or follow-up. You should visit any of our UNI locations if you have pink eye along with any of the following:
- Moderate to severe pain in your eye(s)
- Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
- Intense redness in the eye(s)
- A weakened immune system, for example from HIV or cancer treatment
- Symptoms that get worse or don’t improve, including bacterial pink eye that does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
- Pre-existing eye conditions that may put you at risk for complications or severe infection
If you don’t know whether to come in, always feel free to call a location or email with any questions!
Information from the Center for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic was used in this post.