Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, affects nearly 6 million individuals in the United States every year. It commonly affects children due to them rubbing their eyes after touching a contaminated object, but adults can get it just as easily. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the different types of pink eye, the symptoms of pink eye, what causes pink eye, and how to treat pink eye.

Viral Pink Eye vs. Bacterial Pink Eye

There are two types of pink eye: viral and bacterial. Both types result from inflammation of the conjunctiva. Viral conjunctivitis is often accompanied by a sore throat, cough, or other upper respiratory symptoms. It is also more likely to affect both eyes. Viral conjunctivitis, on the other hand, often affects just one eye and may result in more discharge.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

Pink eye can be diagnosed by a few common symptoms, including pink or red eyes, itchy or irritated eyes, discharge from eyes, and watery eyes. Other symptoms include respiratory symptoms, crust around eyelids, or feeling like there is something in your eye.

What Causes Pink Eye?

Viruses, allergies, bacteria, and fungi are some of the most common culprits of pink eye. These things cause inflammation of the conjunctiva (the film that covers the white part of your eye), resulting in pink eye. Pink eye spreads quickly among children, which is why it is so prevalent in schools. Thankfully, this eye condition does not typically impair vision, especially when caught early.

How to Treat Pink Eye

Pink eye will typically resolve itself between two days and two weeks. For viral cases of pink eye, doctors will offer help in the way of relieving symptoms, using eye drops, hot or cold compresses, and not wearing contact lenses until you heal. If a doctor determines that a case of pink eye is bacterial, she may prescribe antibiotics. If pink eye is a result of allergies, your doctor may put you on eye drops designed specifically for allergies.

If you think you or someone in your family has a case of pink eye, offer hot or cold compresses to reduce any discomfort. Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to determine whether it is viral or bacterial.