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Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

When to Go to an Eye Doctor for Pink Eye

by Damion Wasylow 3 May 2024 10:55 AM

man waking up woth eye discomfort
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, can be an irritating, uncomfortable and even physically unappealing condition. And while most cases will pass without medical intervention, there are times when pink eye may require medical treatment.

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is the commonly used name for conjunctivitis, a condition in which the conjunctiva – the thin, transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball – becomes inflamed. Swollen and irritated blood vessels within the conjunctiva then cause the whites of the eyes to take on the condition’s signature pink color.

Pink eye can be triggered by a variety of causes, including cold and flu viruses, bacterial infections and allergic reactions.

Pink Eye Symptoms and Transmission Prevention

Pink eye symptoms can vary depending on the cause of the irritation, but typically include redness (pinkness) in the white of the eye or eyelids, discharge from the eyes and an itching or burning sensation. Some pink eye sufferers may also experience sensitivity to light, grittiness and/or blurred vision. Also fairly common is crusting of the eyelids, especially upon waking in the morning.

When experiencing pink eye symptoms, it’s important to refrain from touching or rubbing your eyes. You should also wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing towels, makeup or any other objects that may come in contact with your eyes. These steps can reduce the likelihood of spreading the condition to others.

When to See an Eye Doctor for Pink Eye

Most pink eye cases can be treated at home using a combination of damp, warm compresses, over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops and ibuprofen. While those steps should provide fairly immediate symptom relief in most cases, it will still take time for the underlying infection or virus to clear on its own.

If any of the following are true for you, however, it’s advisable to be evaluated by an eye doctor:

  • Severe or Persistent Symptoms: Symptoms are severe, worsen over time or do not improve with home treatment, particularly if accompanied by significant pain, vision changes or light sensitivity.
  • Contact Lens Wearers: Pink eye can lead to serious complications for those who wear contact lenses. Discontinue wearing your lenses immediately and consult an eye doctor.
  • Suspected Bacterial Infection: Thick yellow or green discharge and eyelid crusting could mean a bacterial infection. Antibiotic eye drops may be necessary.

If you or someone you love experiences any of the serious pink eye symptoms described above, or if you just want the peace of mind of having your eyes checked to ensure a clean bill of optical health, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment.



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