Your Eye Doctor in Yakima Answers FAQs about Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is inflammation specifically affecting the conjunctiva and the sclera. The eye’s conjunctiva is the clear, thin tissue lying over the sclera (white area of the eye) and lining the inside of your eyelid. Inflammation of tiny blood vessels crisscrossing the eyes forces them to dilate and cause the redness indicative of pink eye. If you suspect you have pink eye, your eye doctor in Yakima recommends making an appointment at our eye clinic to receive appropriate care. Conjunctivitis is a highly contagious disease that easily spreads within households or in work environments and is often resistant to home remedies.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

Pink eye can be a viral or bacterial infection. Viral conjunctivitis is typically transmitted by touching wash cloths or towels used by someone with conjunctivitis. In schools, pink eye can become epidemic simply because children do not wash their hands after wiping or scratching their eyes. Bacterial conjunctivitis may cause damage to your eyesight and eyes if not treated with antibiotics prescribed by your optometrist. Another type of pink eye is allergic conjunctivitis, or inflammation due to mold, pet dander, pollen or other allergens.

What are Symptoms of Pink Eye?

Symptoms vary slightly depending on whether you have bacterial, viral or allergic conjunctivitis. General signs you may have some type of pink eye include:

  • Excessive tearing/watering
  • Dry eyes (especially with bacterial pink eye)
  • Clear or yellowish discharge
  • Crusting over the eyes upon awakening
  • Itchiness, stinging, grittiness and burning of the eye
  • Swollen eyelids/lining of the eye
  • Reddened eyelids and eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

Although pink eye isn’t painful, the irritation it produces will cause you to rub your eye frequently, which can abrade and inflame eyelid skin even further.

How Will My Eye Doctor Treat Conjunctivitis?

If your eye exam detects viral pink eye, your optometrist will recommend applying a wet, cold washcloth over the infected eye to relieve irritation and changing pillow cases every night. Viral pink eye usually clears up within a few days on its own. Bacterial pink eye treatment involves your eye doctor prescribing antibiotic ointment or eye drops to eliminate bacteria causing inflammation. Allergic conjunctivitis is treated with allergy medications and trying to avoiding allergens known to cause eye inflammation.

Is There a Way I Can Prevent Recurring Pink Eye Infections?

Yes. Wash your hands frequently and never touch or rub your eyes before washing your hands or using an antiseptic hand solution. If your children have pink eye, make sure no one in the household uses their washcloths or towels. Remind children with conjunctivitis to wash their hands as often as possible until the infection is completely gone.

Call Our Yakima Optometrist Today!

If you think you or a family member may have pink eye, please call our Washington eye clinic today to schedule an exam with our Yakima optometrist: (509) 965-5200.