Monday, April 13, 2015

“Pink Eye” Conjunctivitis Questions

Patients call us at Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center just about every day asking questions and seeking information about whether they might have “pink eye” conjunctivitis. It is pretty much impossible to tell anyone over the phone whether or not they have “pink eye” conjunctivitis as a proper diagnosis really requires an office visit and an external eye exam at the minimum. When you come in the eye doctors will look for and discuss your signs and symptoms and help determine exactly why you are having them. Here is some information that they consider and that might be useful for you.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis
If you have a bacterial infection causing pink eye conjunctivitis, you will usually have very red eyes. You may find crusting on your eyelids that can make them stick together as well as a heavy, pus-like discharge from your eyes that may be greenish at times. This infection may spread to both eyes.

Viral Conjunctivitis
If you have a viral conjunctivitis we often will find a very red, swollen eye, crusty eyelids and a more watery discharge. This discharge can also have strands of mucus or white, ropy strands. While many cases of viral pink eye infect only one eye, this infection can also spread to the other eye.

Allergic Conjunctivitis
If you have an allergic conjunctivitis and your allergies are causing your conjunctivitis, it will often look similar to viral conjunctivitis. Your eyes will be red and tearing. However, they will also be itchy. It is likely you may have a stuffy, runny or itchy nose as well.

Treatment of Pink Eye Conjunctivitis
The treatment of conjunctivitis is typically supportive. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections but do work well in treating bacterial conjunctivitis. Regardless of the cause, it is important to minimize exposure of others by washing your hands frequently and throwing away used tissues. Do not share towels or pillow cases. Consider staying home from work or school until you are symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are a contact lens wearer, you should discontinue their use and stick with glasses until your infection clears. Then start with a fresh pair of lenses and a clean lens case.

If you or someone you know has a question about pink eye conjunctivitis, please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & LaserCenter or

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.