What is Pink Eye?
Pink eye, one of the most common eye infections that occur in adults and children, affects over 3 million people annually. Pink eye is the general term for an infection or inflammation of the outer-most layer of the eye called the conjunctiva. The small blood vessels in our eye become inflamed, causing it to become pink and irritated.
Different Types of Pink Eye
Pink eye is most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The condition can also be the result of an allergic reaction, foreign bodies in the eye, or chemicals coming into contact with the eye. Symptoms of pink eye will vary depending on the type, which can provide useful information in assessing treatment.
What Kind of Pink Eye Do I Have?
Viral pink eye is the most common form of pink eye, and not surprisingly, the most contagious. Viruses are easily spread through sneezing, coughing, and touching. Often times viral pink eye is accompanied by other symptoms such as the common cold, the flu, an upper respiratory infection, or swollen lymph nodes. A common symptom that may indicate viral pink eye is excessive watering of the eye. Unfortunately, viral pink eye cannot be resolved through the use of antibiotics. Typically, symptoms can last for 1-2 weeks before subsiding on their own. However, there are several at-home remedies you can utilize to make life more comfortable until the symptoms have diminished — keep reading!
Bacterial pink eye is another common form of pink eye. This infection is caused by bacterial contamination of the eye through various sources such as exposure to a contaminated surface, other people, as well as other infections of the body including ear, nose, and throat conditions. Often times bacterial pink eye will require antibiotic eye drops to eliminate the infection. Symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from bacterial pink eye include visible signs of puss or thick eye discharge. Bacterial pink eye can affect one or both eyes depending on severity.
Allergic pink eye is another mild form of pink eye. It is the result of the eye’s reaction to allergens such as pollen, animal dander, dust, and other irritants. The most common symptom of allergic pink eye is red, itchy eyes. It is important to identify and avoid the allergen that triggers these symptoms to avoid future allergic reactions. The most common treatment for this type of pink eye is usually an OTC eye drop to help soothe the irritation.
Pink Eye Treatment
While some forms of pink eye will require antibiotic drops to alleviate the infection, most times this is not necessary. A study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology concluded that approximately 60% of documented pink eye cases are treated using some sort of antibiotic. The study also confirmed that most forms of pink eye do not require antibiotics. Furthermore, studies indicate that cases of bacterial pink eye that may warrant antibiotic use are typically too mild to actually require this type of treatment.
Pink Eye Remedies
While a common case of pink eye may not require a doctor’s visit, it can still be very uncomfortable. Here is a short list of things you can do at home until your eye clears up and feel better.
PinkEye Relief® Drops
PinkEye Relief® from The Relief Products™ is a great option for an over-the-counter eye drop formulated to treat pink eye. It’s made using 100% natural active ingredients that work gently with your body. It is safe, effective, and offers much needed relief from pink eye symptoms. Use it several times per day or as needed until your symptoms have cleared up. It is available at most major retailers such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, Kroger, and more.
Soak a clean washcloth in warm water. Then, ring it out so it doesn’t drip and place it over your closed eyelid. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until the washcloth has cooled. Do this several times per day or as needed. Also, be sure to use a new washcloth each time to help avoid spreading the infection. The warm compress will help to alleviate some of the swelling and discomfort. Additionally, it can help to loosen any crusting or puss you may have in or around your eye. Keeping the area surrounding the eye clean is very important in the healing process.
Practice Good Hygiene (Important!)
Practicing good hygiene is important in speeding up the healing process, as well as avoiding the spread of infection. Below are some things you can do to practice good hygiene.
• Wash your hands often, especially before or after touching your eye.
• Avoid touching the eye as much as possible.
• Avoid using contact lenses or makeup while the infection is present. Consider throwing away your makeup if you think it may be contaminated.
• Use a fresh face cloth, towel, and pillow cases every day. Because pink eye spreads so easily, it can contaminate any surface that comes into contact with your eye.
Rest & Hydrate
The best thing you can do to help your body recover is rest as much as possible and hydrate. Drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep are crucial in helping your body get over an infection. Spend as much of your downtime as possible lounging at home. Try your best to drink the recommended amount of water per day — at least eight, 8 oz glasses, or approximately half a gallon.
Hopefully you find these tips helpful, allowing you to feel more comfortable until your symptoms have subsided. We always recommend taking extra care and caution when it comes to dealing with any eye infection. If you experience prolonged eye-pain, sensitivity to light, or blurry vision as a symptom, consult your doctor or physician. Additionally, if you think your newborn may have pink eye, contact your doctor immediately.
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