What is Pink Eye? The Real Answer Might Surprise You

Are you seeing pink?

The Great Misconceptions about Pink Eye

Have you ever had pink eye? If so, you might have assumed it was from feces coming into contact with your eye (eww). Or worse yet, people around you also might share this misconception. Well, this article is here to set the record straight. Yes, you can get pink eye from bacteria found in feces, but this is not the only cause and is usually not the main reason why many develop pink eye.

Common Causes of Red Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, occurs when the lining of the eye and eyelid becomes irritated, causing redness and swelling. The term ‘pink eye’ itself may be misleading as the eye does not actually appear pink. Instead, the eye will appear bloodshot, irritated, and may even produce a discharge.

There are many reasons pink eye might occur:

  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Allergies
  • Eye dryness

It is important to be aware that viral pink eye can quickly spread to people around you if proper precautions are not taken. Frequent handwashing steps should be taken, and the infected person should refrain from sharing personal effects, like face cloths, which may come into contact with other people eyes.

Common Treatments for Pink Eye

Viral pink eye generally clears on its own without medical intervention. Dr. Sharma recommends applying a cold, wet washcloth to the affected eye(s) several times a day for relief.

Bacterial pink eye may be treated with antibiotic drops.

Allergic pink eye can be treated by specific allergy medication. However, if allergies are the root cause of pink eye, allergy medication will still help to soothe the affected eye(s) instead of actually treating the eye condition.

Pink eye due to dry eyes can be treated with artificial tears. There are a wide assortment of drops available to patients suffering from dry eye. An optometrist should really be consulted in order to obtain the most appropriate drop.

The type of red eye treatment depends on identifying the underlying cause. Anytime patients experience conjunctivitis, it is important they seek the professional opinion of a doctor of optometry so that proper treatment can be prescribed.

If you think you may have conjunctivitis, please call our office to get an eye exam. The best treatment can only be prescribed if the eye is examined and root cause identified. Questions and comments are always welcomed by phone, email, or via our website.

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