Pink Eye

Pink eye is generally a harmless inflammation of the eye, however it can be very irritating and it’s important to understand the condition and to know what steps to take.

Pink eye, known medically as conjunctivitis, is inflammation of the conjunctiva which is the transparent layer that covers the inner eyelid and the outer part of the eyeball. This is a common condition which causes a red irritated eye with discharge. It usually passes on its own, or with medication when necessary, within a week or so. There are three main types of conjunctivitis - viral, bacterial or allergic,and depending on the type of pink eye there are good treatment methods.

Both viral conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis are very contagious in nature. It is typically spread through indirect or direct contact with a person who has pink eye which could lead to the spread of infection in one or both eyes. However, it does not cause any serious consequences to the health of the individual if it is treated and diagnosed immediately. Pink eye is extremely common in children because it can spread in class due to close contact and also children tend to be less hygienic than adults are.

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When to Seek Immediate Care

If pink eye is identified in a newborn, immediate care from an eye doctor should be given to avoid any long term damage to the baby’s vision. 

If you have pink eye along with any of the following conditions, please schedule an eye exam right away with our eye doctor in New York, as it is important to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment:

  • Pain in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision that does not go away when carefully wiping away discharge
  • Symptoms that get worse or if bacterial pink eye doesn’t improve with antibiotics
  • Weak immune system due to various medical conditions, such as a person going through cancer treatment

Types of Pink Eye

The most common type of pink eye is viral conjunctivitis and it is also usually the most contagious. It often starts in one eye and causes tears and watery discharge. After a few days, it starts infecting the other eye as well. 

The second major type of pink eye is bacterial. Like the viral strains, this also starts in one eye and gradually shows up in the other one as well, but this strain causes the release of a lot of pus and mucus from the eye. It is important to note that there are types of bacteria which cause pink eye and yet do not lead to pus from the eyes.

Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and is caused by an allergic reaction so it’s essential to determine the trigger to avoid future allergic reactions.

Types of Pink Eye
Symptoms

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of pink eye experienced by patients are as follows:

  • Redness
  • Severe itchiness
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Gritty feeling
  • Excess tearing
Symptoms

Treatment

For all types of conjunctivitis it’s important to stop wearing contact lenses and makeup until the conjunctivitis goes away. If you were wearing disposable contact lenses when the infection started, it is advised to throw them away and open a new pack when it’s safe to start wearing contact lenses again. If you are using reusable lenses, please sterilize them very carefully before using again. Be careful to wash your hands and anything else that comes into contact with your eyes such as washcloths, pillow cases, and makeup brushes in order to maintain healthy eyes and prevent future irritations. Do not touch or rub the infected eye with your hands. Tissues can be used for wiping away discharge, in case the need arises. For all types of conjunctivitis, some people find over-the-counter artificial tears helpful to reduce symptoms. 

Viral conjunctivitis is not treated medicinally, but will heal on its own within a week or two. If it's a bacterial pink eye, which usually has more pus than the other types, antibacterial eye drops will be prescribed. For both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, warm compress can provide relief and help reduce inflammation. You can use a warm washcloth to gently clean away the mucus from your eye. To treat pink eye caused by allergies, use allergy medicine and you can reduce irritation by using a cool, damp washcloth. 

Prevention

Cleanliness is extremely important to keep your eyes clean and to avoid future infection. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is recommended, especially before touching your eyes. Eye makeup, lenses or eye drops should not be shared with others.

Common Questions

Many of our patients who have red eyes wonder if they have an eye infection. Just because you have red, irritated or swollen eyes does not necessarily mean you have pink eye which is medically known as conjunctivitis. It is also possible for your symptoms to be caused by a wide variety of conditions such as seasonal allergies, extended use or overuse of contact lenses, dry eye, marijuana use, styes, extended use of computers or phones, iritis, chalazion (inflammation of the eyelid gland), or blepharitis (inflammation or infection of the eyelid skin). None of these conditions are contagious. Another common example is red eye that is due to a lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep decreases oxygen that is available for the eyes; this causes blood vessels to dilate and give the appearance of being red or bloodshot. If your pink or red eye symptoms persist for longer than a day, you should see an optometrist.
Pink Eye
Dr. Wernick cartoon

Summary

Pink eye is an extremely common inflammation of the front layer of the eye which causes red irritated eyes. There are different causes for pink eye and identifying the cause allows for the proper treatment. Pink eye usually goes away within a few weeks. If you have pink eye and the symptoms are not improving or are getting worse after 24 hours, please schedule an appointment with our eye doctor  by calling (212) 752-6930 who can properly diagnose the cause and provide the appropriate treatment. Patients searching for advanced medical eye care visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

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Testimonials


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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