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Pink Eye

If you have pink eye, you’re far from alone. According to estimates, around six million people develop acute conjunctivitis, or pink eye, each year. The condition is more common in children, but people of all ages can get it.

Pink eye typically resolves without medical intervention. However, it’s possible that you will need to visit a doctor or even go to the emergency room for pink eye. If you have severe symptoms and need urgent medical care, visit Legacy ER & Urgent Care.

How Do You Get Pink Eye?

drops in eyes​First, it’s important to understand what causes pink eye. Most often, pink eye is caused by viral or bacterial infections. However, you can also develop pink eye from an allergic reaction, and babies can get it when tear ducts fail to open completely.

Is Pink Eye Contagious?

If you have viral or bacterial pink eye, the condition is contagious. You should not share personal items or use swimming pools if you have pink eye. Also, keep your hands clean and don’t rub or touch your eyes.

Pink Eye Symptoms

If you have pink eye, you’ll notice lots of symptoms. The common pink eye symptoms include:

  • Red or pink color in the white of one or both eyes
  • Swelling of the conjunctiva and/or eyelids
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Pus or mucus discharge
  • Crusting of the eyelashes and eyelids

If you wear contact lenses, they will be uncomfortable. You also might notice that they don’t stay in place when in your eye.

When to Visit an Emergency Room for Pink Eye

While pink eye typically resolves on its own, you need to visit the emergency room if you experience:

  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision and sensitivity to light after cleaning discharge from eyes
  • Extreme redness
  • Symptoms that worsen
  • Symptoms that don’t improve

Pink Eye Treatment

If you have viral pink eye, the infection should go away within two weeks. However, if the condition fails to improve, your doctor might prescribe an antiviral medicine to speed up recovery.

If you have bacterial pink eye, you should notice an improvement within five days, and many people recover completely within two weeks. However, if your condition is moderate to severe, you might need to take an ointment or eye drop antibiotic.

Allergic pink eye is a bit different. If you have this, removing the allergen is the easiest way to treat the condition. However, if that is not possible, your physician might prescribe eye drops or medications to treat your allergies.

While pink eye normally isn’t a serious problem, it can be quite painful when severe. If you are experiencing significant symptoms, visit one of the six Legacy ER & Urgent Care locations for diagnosis and treatment.