Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection of the conjunctiva, the transparent mucous membrane that covers the white of your eye and lines your eyelid. The condition causes blood vessels in the conjunctiva to swell, making them more visible and turning your eye pink. Because the most common forms of pink eye are contagious, it’s important to know how to identify the condition so you can begin treatment and prevent spreading the infection to other people.
Do you suspect you or your child has pink eye? Call Fast Track Urgent Care or stop by one of our locations in Silver Spring and Kensington. Our walk-in clinic offers quick care for pink eye and other medical conditions.
Signs & Symptoms of Pink Eye
Both adults and children can contract pink eye, so symptoms are possible in both age groups. Pink eye causes irritation, but you’ll be relieved to know it rarely impairs your vision.
Conjunctivitis has multiple causes, altering the exact symptoms you experience. Still, the same general signs are always present, including eye redness and itchiness, a gritty feeling in the eye, excessive tear production, and goopy eye discharge.
- If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, you may experience particularly thick eye secretions, which can harden on your eyelid and prevent you from opening your eye after being asleep.
- If you have viral conjunctivitis, your eye discharge may be watery. This type of pink eye often starts in one eye and then infects the other within a few days.
- If you have allergic conjunctivitis, intense eye itching, tearing, and inflammation may be accompanied by sneezing and watery nasal discharge. This form of pink eye is not contagious.
- If you have conjunctivitis from irritation, you may have been splashed with a chemical or gotten a foreign object in your eye. In either case, the eye redness, irritation, and watery discharge are not contagious.
Ways to Treat Pink Eye
You can treat pink eye at home by applying a cool washcloth to your infected eye, using over-the-counter eye drops, and not wearing contact lenses. More formal medical treatments depend on the type of pink eye you have:
- Over half of all bacterial conjunctivitis cases resolve after one to two weeks without treatment. Still, antibiotic eye drops or ointment may help speed up your recovery.
- Most often, no treatment is available for viral conjunctivitis, though you may receive a prescription for antiviral medication if the herpes simplex virus caused the infection. Otherwise, symptoms should clear up in one to two weeks.
- Prescription eye drops are often helpful for people prone to allergic conjunctivitis.
- Conjunctivitis from irritation may require you to flush your eye to remove the foreign object or chemical. Symptoms usually dissipate in a day or two.
Avoid Getting Pink Eye
Bacterial and viral pink Eye can pass from person to person through direct or indirect contact with infected eye secretions. To help prevent getting pink Eye, start by washing your hands often throughout the day. Then, avoid touching your eyes with your hands.
Wash towels, washcloths, and pillow cases often. Don’t share towels and linens with others. Also, toss out your mascara after three months of use and don’t share eye makeup with anyone. Finally, if your doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat pink Eye, finish all the medication you’re given.
Need Pink Eye Diagnosis and Treatment in Montgomery County? Visit Fast Track Urgent Care
If you or your child gets pink eye, stay home from work or school and come to Fast Track Urgent Care. Our clinic can diagnose and treat pink eye properly to help you heal as quickly as possible. Stop by our Silver Spring or Kensington location today, no appointment needed, or call 800-417-1164 to learn more.