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What is Pink Eye?

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the eye and inside of the eyelids. Most cases of pink eye are caused by viruses or bacteria, and less frequently by allergies or chemicals.

Viral conjunctivitis typically affects both eyes at the same time. The white part of the eyes become bloodshot and the discharge from the eyes is clear like tears. The eyes may feel irritated like there is some sand in them. Viral conjunctivitis sometimes develops after you have had a cold or after exposure to someone with a red eye.

Bacterial conjunctivitis may start in one eye and then spread to the other eye in a few days. The whites of the eyes will become bloodshot but the discharge from the eyes is yellow. In the morning, the eye(s) may be matted closed from dry mucous.

If you wear contact lenses, you can develop conjunctivitis as well. It may be due to chemical irritation, a reaction to preservatives or from saliva to wet the lenses. This form of pink eye can lead to loss of vision if left untreated. Call us immediately if you wear contact lenses and develop a red eye.

If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, we may prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment to be placed in the yes. You should expect to notice improvement in symptoms after approximately two-three days but you should continue using the antibiotics for the full amount of time written on the prescription (typically 7 days). Viral conjunctivitis will go away on its own and can take up to 3 weeks to resolve.

You should wipe the mucous from the eye with a tissue as needed. Wash your hands after contact with a contaminated tissue or after touching your eye. Applying a wet warm washcloth to the dry mucous in the morning will help in removing the crust. Remember that the washcloth will be contaminated afterward and should not be left out where others could touch it and develop pink eye.

Why Should Your Child Be Sent Home from School When He or She Develops Pink Eye?

Pink eye can be extremely contagious, so your child must be kept out of school. The school may require a note from in order for your child to return to school, which we will be more than happy to provide.

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