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About pink eye and symptoms.
Pink eye typically presents with redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The lining of the eye is usually clear, but appears white due to the colour of the tissue underneath. If irritation or infection occurs, the lining becomes red and swollen.
Pink eye is very common, and usually is not serious. Typically, it goes away in 7 to 10 days without any medical treatment. Pink eye is most commonly caused by:
- Infections – usually viruses or bacteria
- Chemicals, or smoke
- Dry eyes
Infectious pink eye is highly contagious and spreads very easily. Since most cases are caused by viruses, which aren’t treated by antibiotics, there is usually no medical treatment. Preventing spread is most important, which can effectively be accomplished with good hand washing. Sharing objects like facecloths with a person who has pink eye can easily spread the infection.
Common symptoms of viral pink eye include:
- Itching or burning feeling of the eyelids
- Redness in the white of the eye
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Watery eyes
- Dr. Brett Belchetz, ER Physician, Toronto
When to see a doctor for your pink eye.
You should speak to a doctor if you have a medical condition that decreases your body’s ability to fight infection, have vision in only one eye, wear contact lenses, you have symptoms of a bacterial infections. You should also see a doctor if you suffer symptoms of a bacterial pink eye such as:
- Gray or yellow drainage from the eye, which may also cause the eyelashes to stick together
- Swelling of the upper eyelid, which may cause the lid to appear to droop
- Pain in the affected eye
If you choose to see one of our doctors on Maple, the typical treatments you may receive include:
- Antibiotics, such as Vigamox (moxfloxacin) – if your pink eye is consistent with a bacterial infection, the doctor may recommend rapid treatment with antibiotics. Bacterial infections usually last 7-10 days without antibiotics and 2-4 days with antibiotics. If your symptoms are improving, you can usually return to work or school 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.
- Antihistamines/anti-allergy treatments – these may be oral, such as Reactine, or take the form of eye drops such as Opticrom (Cromolyn, Zaditen (Ketotifen) or Alocril eye drops.
- Dr. Peter Iracleous, ER Physician, Toronto