Virtual Care > Virtual Care: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) 

What is Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)?

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) is an irritation or infection. It affects the membrane that covers the white of your eye and the inside of your eyelid (conjunctiva). It can happen to one or both eyes. The membrane swells and the blood vessels enlarge (dilate). This makes your eye red. That's why conjunctivitis is sometimes called red eye or pink eye.

Symptoms

You may need treatment if you have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Redness in and around your eye

  • Eyes that are puffy and sore

  • Itching, burning, or stinging eyes

  • Watery eyes or discharge from your eye

  • Eyelids that are crusty or stuck together when you wake up in the morning

  • Pink color in the whites of one or both eyes

Getting treatment quickly can help prevent damage to your eyes.

 

Treatment

Conjunctivitis, or Pink Eye, can be caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection or even allergies and other irritants.

Pink eye caused by a virus will usually go away on its own. Artificial tears and warm compresses can relieve symptoms. Your provider may also prescribe eye drops. A viral infection can be very contagious and spreads quickly. To prevent this, wash your hands often. Use a separate tissue to wipe each eye. Don’t touch your eyes or share bedding or towels.

Pink eye caused by a bacterial infection can be treated with eye drops. Your provider may prescribe eye drops or ointment to kill the bacteria. Warm compresses can help keep the eyelids clean. To keep the bacteria from spreading, wash your hands often. Use a separate tissue to wipe each eye. Don’t touch your eyes or share bedding or towels.

Conjunctivitis caused by allergies and irritants is usually best controlled by avoiding the irritant. Artificial tears can help flush out the eye and lubricate the surface. Your provider may also prescribe eye drops to reduce swelling and relieve redness. In some cases, you may have to stop wearing contact lenses or eye makeup.

 

Visit with a Virtual Care health care provider on the phone or online for help with your symptoms.

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