The tearing, itchiness, and discharge caused by pink eye can make you or your child miserable, but you have to worry about more than the symptoms — pink eye is highly contagious. Dr. Stephen Chase at Family Vision Care Center can provide symptom relief, medication when appropriate, and give you tips on how to avoid catching or spreading pink eye. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Torrance, California, or book an appointment online.
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye problems affecting children and adults. It occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, and blood vessels are dilated. Since the conjunctiva is a clear membrane that covers the white part of your eye, these changes make your eye appear pink or reddish.
The primary symptom is the color of your eye, but pink eye can cause other symptoms, including:
Pink eye is commonly caused by a virus or bacteria:
The most common type of pink eye, viral conjunctivitis often arises from an adenovirus. It may be accompanied by an upper respiratory tract infection, cold, or sore throat. It’s very contagious, so it quickly spreads through schools and places where people are in close contact.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is also very contagious. You can usually tell it apart from viral conjunctivitis because it makes your eye sore and produces pus and discharge. It’s typically caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria.
Allergic conjunctivitis belongs to the same group of eye problems, but it’s not contagious and is seldom thought of as pink eye because it’s an eye allergy. You can develop allergic conjunctivitis from a reaction to common allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust mites.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of your eyelid that occurs along the eyelash line. It develops from various causes, including problems in oil glands in your eyelids, bacteria, scalp dandruff, and acne rosacea.
Although blepharitis isn’t the same as conjunctivitis, it’s easy to confuse the two conditions because they have similar symptoms, and blepharitis can even make your eye appear red. Blepharitis, however, causes a red and swollen eyelid, which usually doesn’t appear in conjunctivitis.
Dr. Chase chooses your treatment based on the underlying cause of your pink eye. He may recommend medications like artificial tears to treat dryness, cold packs for inflammation, antibiotic eye drops for a bacterial infection, or antiviral medication for a serious viral infection.
Don’t wait to get relief from pink eye symptoms. Call the Family Vision Care Center or book an appointment online.