What are the symptoms of pink eye?
- Pink color or redness in the white of the eye(s)
- Burning sensation or itching in the eye(s)
- Swelling of the eye(s) or the eyelid(s)
- Watering or tearing
- Foreign body sensation (feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s) with an intense urge to rub the eye(s))
- Itching or irritation in the eye(s)
- Pus or mucus discharge from the eye(s)
- Crusting of eyelashes or eyelids, especially in the morning
Depending on the cause of the pink eye, certain additional symptoms may occur:
- The symptoms of the pink eye usually begin in one eye and may spread to the other eye within days.
- Thin and watery discharge from the eye
- Flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, runny nose, and body ache)
- Itching in the eye and blurred vision
- Thick pus discharge from the eyes that causes the eyelids to stick to each other
- There may be an associated ear infection
- Usually affects both the eyes
- Intense itching, tearing and swelling in the eyes
- There may be other symptoms of allergies, such as an itchy nose, sneezing, a scratchy throat, or asthma.
Conjunctivitis caused by irritants
When should I seek medical care for pink eye?
Newborns with signs of conjunctivitis should be immediately taken to a doctor. In other cases, you should visit a healthcare provider if you have a pink eye along with any of the following:
- pain in the eye(s)
- discomfort or sensitivity to light
- blurred vision that does not improve when discharge is wiped from the eye(s)
- intense redness in the eye(s)
- symptoms that get worse or do not improve
- weak immunity, e.g., HIV infection, diabetes mellitus, cancer treatment, or other medical conditions or treatments
How do you treat a bacterial pink eye?
A bacterial pink eye usually produces more mucus or pus than a viral or allergic pink eye. Your doctor may prescribe:
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointment
- Oral antibiotics
- Painkillers like ibuprofen
- Lubricating eye drops (artificial tears)
- Warm compresses
- Soak a clean washcloth in warm water, wring out excess water, and place it over your eyes.
- Do this for 10 to 15 minutes at a time
- Repeat three to five times a day or as often as is comfortable.
- Use a clean washcloth each time
- In the case of infectious conjunctivitis in both eyes, use a different washcloth for each eye.
- Do not rub or touch the eyes
- Until the eye heals, do not wear makeup or contact lenses.
Antibiotics are not always essential for the treatment of a pink eye; however, they may be necessary in the following cases:
- Presence of discharge (pus) from the eye
- People with low immunity
- When certain bacteria are suspected
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