Pink Eye Treatment From an Optometrist in Yakima
Pink eye is a very common and treatable infection of the eye. Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is very contagious. While the condition rarely affects your vision, pink eye symptoms can be irritating and uncomfortable. Fortunately, our optometrist in Yakima can diagnose conjunctivitis and prescribe pink eye medicine to relieve your symptoms when appropriate.
Conjunctivitis affects the transparent membrane covering the inside of your eyelids and the whites of your eyes. This membrane, known as the conjunctiva, contains small blood vessels. Infections, like with pink eye, irritate and inflame these small blood vessels, which causes the whites of your eyes to appear pink.
The condition can be the result of an infection from a virus or bacteria. An allergic reaction or contact with an irritant, such as chlorine in swimming pools, can also cause the condition.
Early diagnosis and treatment helps pink eye clear up quickly – they can also limit the spread of conjunctivitis to other people.
Pink Eye Symptoms
Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes. Pink eye symptoms include:
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Gritty feeling
- A discharge that forms a crust over your eyelid that prevents you from opening your eye in the morning
Pink eye can be contagious for as long as two weeks after the first symptoms appear. This means it can spread to other people through contact with contaminated towels, countertops, or un-chlorinated or unclean swimming pools.
Treatment for Pink Eye in Yakima
Our optometrist provides treatment for pink eye in Yakima. Treatment depends largely on the cause of pink eye. Our Yakima optometrist will prescribe antibacterial eye drops or ointment if bacteria caused your pink eye. Eye drops containing antihistamines relieve symptoms of pink eye associated with allergies.
Antibiotics will not relieve pink eye symptoms caused by a virus. Our optometrist can help alleviate your symptoms by recommending lubricating eye drops. You can also apply warm or cold compresses to your closed eye – use whichever one feels better.
Pink eye easily spreads to other people, or even from one eye to the other. Since infectious pink eye is contagious, you should throw away mascara brushes, eyeliner, shadow and other makeup items used near your eyes to avoid getting further eye infections. If you or someone in your house has pink eye, do not share towels or washcloths, cosmetics, cotton balls or gauze, even with family members. Wash your hands often, especially after touching your eyes.
Our Yakima optometrist may suggest that you avoid wearing contact lenses, if you wear them, while you have conjunctivitis. Throw away disposable contact lenses after your infection clears up and select a new pair. Disinfect your lenses and case at least twice if you do not wear disposable contact lenses.
If you have pink eye, make an appointment with Yakima Vision Center, located at 2010 W Lincoln Ave #1, Yakima, WA. Call our office today!
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.