The Eye Institute of Wyoming: Relief for Pink Eye Symptoms in Casper and Douglas
Pink eye or conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye complaints, occurring when the thin layer of tissue that covers the eye and lines the eyelid becomes irritated and inflamed. Different factors can cause conjunctivitis, and seeing an eye doctor at the first sign of symptoms is the best way to relieve symptoms and prevent additional irritation.
What causes pink eye?
The main causes of pink eye are:
- Bacteria and viruses: Bacteria like gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pink eye, and so can the virus that causes the common cold, as well as other types of bacteria and viruses.
- Allergens: Dust, pollen, pet dander and other allergens can cause allergic conjunctivitis.
- Irritants: Soaps, shampoos, dirt particles and smoke can all cause the conjunctiva to become irritated.
Pink eye caused by bacteria and viruses can be passed from one person to another very easily. Having prompt treatment can help prevent spreading the germs to someone else.
What are the symptoms of pink eye?
In addition to causing the eye to appear pink or red, conjunctivitis can cause symptoms like:
- excess tearing
- thick yellowish, whitish or greenish discharge from the eyes
- crusting on the lashes
- itching or burning sensations in the eyes
- increased light sensitivity
- blurry vision
How is pink eye diagnosed?
Diagnosis relies on a careful evaluation of the eye to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. Your optometrist may also take a sample of eye fluid, collecting it on a soft cotton swab so it can be evaluated in a lab. Microscopic analysis will enable the specific disease-causing virus or bacteria to be identified so your optometrist can prescribe the most appropriate treatment.
How is pink eye treated?
The treatment for pink eye will depend on its underlying cause. Pink eye caused by bacteria can be effectively treated with antibiotics that can be administered with eye drops or in pills. Eye drops typically need to be applied several times a day. There is no medication for conjunctivitis caused by a virus, which means the infection just needs to run its course, which typically lasts up to a week. With bacteria and viral infections, it’s very important to avoid touching your eyes to prevent spreading the infection, and contact lenses should not be worn until the eye heals. Makeup and lenses that were worn during the infection must be discarded to prevent reinfecting the eyes.
Pink eye caused by allergens and irritants should improve on their own once the allergen is removed or the irritant is washed away. For irritants, flush the eye with clean water for several minutes. If an irritant is caustic, it’s vitally important to call the office immediately after flushing the eye.
Getting Care for Pink Eye in Casper and Douglas
The Eye Institute of Wyoming is a top-ranked optometry practice, providing patients in Casper, Douglas and the surrounding communities with advanced care for pink eye and other eye diseases and infections. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or any other symptom that affects your vision or the way your eye feels or looks, call our Casper office at (307) 235-5384 or our Douglas office at (307) 358-2900 and schedule an appointment today.