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When To See An Optometrist For Pink Eye

When To See An Optometrist For Pink Eye

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is one of the most common and irritating eye conditions, especially in children. It is distinguished by the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin membrane that lines the eyelid and the surface of the eye. Symptoms include redness, itching or burning, excessive discharge, tearing, and crusty eyes after sleeping. Though most cases go away on their own or with home remedies, pink eye is potentially contagious and can easily spread in schools or the workplace.

Our Calgary eye doctors at Blink Eyewear understand that pink eye can be extremely uncomfortable. That is why we are committed to providing the best care possible for your eye condition. Come see our optometrists at Creekside, West Springs, and Crowfoot clinics in Calgary today.

Types And Causes Of Pink Eye  

The type of pink eye you have is dependent on the cause: 

Viral conjunctivitis: Pink eye is usually caused by the same virus that triggers colds and respiratory infections. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and transmits the same way as a cold一through coughing and sneezing. It can also spread through touch. 

Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are usually mild and taper off over a week. In severe cases, an eye doctor or optometrist can prescribe you antiviral medication. 

Bacterial conjunctivitis: Unhygienic practices like touching your eyes with improper handwashing can lead to a bacterial infection of the conjunctiva. Usually the most uncomfortable type of pink eye, bacterial conjunctivitis can be recognized by the significant amount of yellow and sticky discharge produced. Bacterial conjunctivitis can spread through direct contact. 

Most cases of bacterial conjunctivitis resolve themselves or with minimal treatments after a week, but some may require antibiotic drops prescribed by an eye doctor.  

Allergic conjunctivitis: Allergens such as dust and pollen can get in the eyes and cause allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms include redness, itching, and excessive tearing. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. 

Removing or avoiding the irritant is the first step in recovering from allergic conjunctivitis. Over-the-counter antihistamine drugs and allergy eye drops are generally successful in reducing symptoms. 

Home Treatments For Pink Eye

Treatment for pink eye starts at home. These tips have been proven effective for all types of conjunctivitis: 

  • Periodically wipe your eyes with a clean, wet cloth. Be gentle in the process and do not use the same cloth for both eyes. 
  • Rest often, alternating cold and warm compresses on your eyes. 
  • Apply artificial eye drops based on the label’s instructions. Avoid contact between the applicator and your eye. 
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses for the time being. Disinfect them completely or use new ones after recovery. 
  • Do not wear eye makeup and throw away your applicators to avoid contamination. 

You may consider supplementing your home treatment with over-the-counter medication. You can find antibiotic eye drops for bacterial conjunctivitis and antihistamine drugs and allergy eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis at your local pharmacy. 

When To See An Optometrist Or Eye Doctor 

If your case has not improved over a week despite home treatments, seek medical attention. Prescription eye drops are often more effective than over-the-counter treatments. 

You may also consider seeing an eye doctor if you do not know which type of pink eye you have. Telling the symptoms apart can be difficult, and using the wrong eye drops will be ineffective. A professional can accurately diagnose your case and advise you accordingly. 

Finally, see an eye doctor immediately if you have a depressed or weakened immune system or start developing more severe symptoms. Signs to look out for include:

  • Pain in one or both eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision 
  • Fever 

Pink Eye Treatment In Calgary 

While pink eye is unlikely to leave lasting damage to your eyes or vision, treating the condition often requires self-control and patience. Refraining from rubbing your eyes can be difficult, especially if they are irritated. Furthermore, your symptoms can take many days before they completely subside. It is no surprise that pink eye is such a problem among children and that dozens of schools experience outbreaks every year. 

Pink eye is not guaranteed to respond to home treatments. In the event your case gets worse or you develop more severe symptoms, see an eye doctor immediately. 

Our optometrists at our Creekside, West Springs, and Crowfoot locations have extensive experience providing excellent conjunctivitis care in Calgary. Call Blink Eyewear at 403-516-2292 or fill out the online contact form to schedule an appointment for your pink eye. 

FAQs

Q: Can pink eyes cause blindness?
A: While temporary blurriness and other vision disturbances are possible, there has been no recorded case of blindness linked directly to pink eye. 

Q: How long will I be contagious for?
A: You will likely remain contagious as long as your symptoms have not subsided. If you need to go to work anyway, keep your distance from other people and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch. 

Q: Do contact lenses cause pink eye?
A: Unhygienic habits can cause pink eye. These include not properly cleaning your contact lenses, wearing them beyond the recommended period, and using contaminated contact lens solution.


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