Should I See an Eye Doctor for Pink Eye?

young woman applying eye drop

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common condition that causes eye inflammation and redness. While pink eye can be uncomfortable and has a concerning appearance, it’s usually not serious and can often be treated at home. However, in some cases, you need to see a doctor for pink eye.

What is Pink Eye?

This infection occurs when the conjunctiva—the thin, clear tissue lining the inside of your eyelid and covering the white of your eye—becomes inflamed. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes at a time.

What Causes Pink Eye?

Pink eye has various causes, including viruses, bacteria, allergens, irritants, and more. Viral and bacterial infections are highly contagious, though only bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotics. Allergic conjunctivitis is the result of an allergic reaction to pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and other substances. Irritant conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to smoke, chemicals, chlorine, and foreign bodies in the eye.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

The symptoms of pink eye vary depending on the cause of the infection. Some common symptoms include:

  • Redness of the eye or inner eyelid
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Discharge and crusting around the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, take immediate action to alleviate your discomfort and prevent spreading the infection.

Treating Pink Eye at Home

If you develop conjunctivitis, it’s important to stay home from work and school in case you have a contagious viral or bacterial infection. Try at-home treatment before seeing a doctor for pink eye. Here’s what to try:

  • Apply a warm compress to the affected eye to reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort.
  • Apply over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears to alleviate redness, itching, and dryness.
  • Take antihistamines if you suspect allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and wash your hands frequently to prevent introducing new germs and limit the spread of infection.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses until the infection clears up.

When to Go to the Doctor for Pink Eye

While pink eye can often be treated at home, prescription allergy pills or antibiotic eye drops may speed up your recovery. Seek professional medical attention if your symptoms persist or worsen after a few days of home treatment. Also, call your eye doctor for advice if you experience severe symptoms such as pain, blurred vision, or light sensitivity. By taking proper precautions and seeking medical attention when necessary, the infection should clear up quickly, allowing you to resume your normal activities as soon as possible.

Pink Eye Treatment in Southern New Hampshire

If you think you might have pink eye, get in touch with Spindel Eye Associates. We have several locations in Southern New Hampshire where we can provide an accurate diagnosis and safe, effective treatment for this irritating and uncomfortable eye condition. For more information about our treatment options or to schedule an eye appointment, please call 603-434-4193.