This condition happens when the membrane that lines the eyelid (conjunctiva) becomes red, usually due to an infection or allergic reaction.
Pink eye happens when the membrane that lines the eyelid (conjunctiva) becomes red. It is also known as conjunctivitis. Some causes of pink eye include:
bacterial or viral infection
substances that cause irritation to the eye
contact lenses, solutions or eye drops
If the pink eye is caused by a virus or bacteria, it can spread easily from one eye to the other, or from person to person.
Pink eye is common in children. It results in redness of the eye's conjunctiva and drainage from one or both eyes. The type of drainage typically depends on the cause.
A viral cause will usually produce a watery or stringy discharge from the infected eye. Viral infections will usually clear up within 7 days.
A bacterial infection will usually produce a thick, yellow-green discharge that can cause the eyelid to crust over while sleeping. Treatment often includes a course of antibiotic eye drops or ointment.
Allergic conjunctivitis typically causes a clear, watery discharge and intense itching in both eyes. Other allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and watery nasal discharge, may also develop. Over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops or prescription eye drops may be recommended by your healthcare provider.
Some other symptoms associated with pink eye include:
Red and swollen eyelids
Sensitivity to bright light
Gritty sensation in the eye
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of pink eye or conjunctivitis.
Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, allergies, surgeries and hospitalizations).
Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.
If your doctor recommends eye drops or ointment, ask if an over-the-counter product would be right for you.
If your doctor prescribes eye drops or ointment, ask for a generic version. If your doctor thinks that a generic version is not right for you, ask for a medication from the lowest available tier on your PDL.
Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.
What is my diagnosis? What risks are associated with my diagnosis?
What treatment, if any, are you recommending? What options are available?
What are the possible side effects?
What are my follow-up plans? What symptoms should I report before my next appointment?
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