Eye Care Question of the Week: #4

Question:

What is pink eye?

 

Answer:

Pink eye is a general term used to describe the appearance of a red swollen looking eye. An eye can become inflamed or ‘pink’ for a number of reasons including: allergies, viral and bacterial infections, chemical irritants, or because of an underlying disease process.

In general however, ‘pink eye’ is most often used to describe a viral eye infection. Viral eye infections are one of the most common eye infections that optometrists and ophthalmologists encounter. Patients often present with sinus infections, runny noses or other cold like symptoms. Eyes often take on a pinkish hue, water excessively and become light sensitive. Symptoms are usually the worst within the first 3-5 days, with most symptoms resolving within 1-2 weeks.

Because viral pink eye can be extremely contagious, therefore it must be detected and treated properly. Patients should not go to work, school, or day care until they visit an eye doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

 

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