Conjunctivitis: When Pink Isn’t Pretty

Close up on a Woman's EyeOnce springtime rolls around, pink is one color that you wouldn’t want in your color palette, especially if it’s in your eyes. Conjunctivitis or pink eye occurs when your conjunctiva, that transparent, thin membrane covering your eye’s white portion and your eyelid’s inner surface, becomes inflamed.

What Happens when You Have Pink Eye

Pollen is among the most common irritants that could trigger pink eye, along with pollutants like campfire and tobacco smoke, pet dander, and chlorine in swimming pools. Bacterial infection, perhaps from touching or scratching your eyes with filthy hands or a bacteria filled mascara wand, could also kick start your pink eye. Additionally, a viral infection could also cause pink eye.

When you have viral pink eye, your eye would turn pinkish and discharge a whitish, thick drainage. You might also experience some upper respiratory symptoms. With bacterial conjunctivitis, your eye would turn a darker red and produce a greenish, grayish, or yellowish drainage, which would, in turn, cause your lashes to stick together. With both pink eye cases, your eyelids might become swollen, red, and watery.

What to Do when You Have Pink Eye

If your pink eye is bacterial, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotic drops. If it’s viral, you won’t need any medications and you’ll just need to live with it for a couple of days to a week. On the other hand, an eye specialist in a top vision clinic in Maple Grove mentions that pink eye due to allergens and irritants is not contagious. Anti-allergy medications could help your symptoms.

Bacterial and viral pink eye are very contagious. You must thoroughly clean your hands, stay secluded in your home for at least a day, and never share your pillows or towels, until you have managed to control the virus or your antibiotic takes effect. More importantly, refrain from touching your eyes, no matter how itchy and uncomfortable you feel.

Pink eye is common but would require immediate treatment if it’s viral or bacterial, which makes it extremely contagious. Pink eye from an allergic reaction is not contagious. With proper and timely treatment, pink eye rarely leads to long-term damage to your eyesight. That being said, be mindful of your symptoms and follow your doctor’s advice to avoid spreading it to other people.