Pink eye is a type of conjunctivitis which falls into the category of a viral infection. The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that covers the white of the eye and the inner lining of the eye lids. When the conjunctiva is inflamed it is termed conjunctivitis. This inflammation causes the blood vessels to dilate (become bigger) and the conjunctiva to become swollen. The three most common types of conjunctivitis are bacterial, allergic and viral. True “pink eye” is considered viral because of the contagious nature of the inflammation. It usually spreads from one eye to the other quickly. Sometimes the person affected will have a history of recent upper respiratory infection or sore throat.
Treatment for pink eye usually includes eye drops to ease the inflammation and redness. These are usually a steroid eye drop or antibiotic/steroid combination in case there is a bacterial infection as well. Like all viral infections, it simply has to run its course, which may take a few days to a week to completely resolve. The person should be considered contagious while the virus is present, so direct contact with others should be limited.
Dr. Carney is available for all your eye care needs by appointment at Welch/Wallace Laser Center by calling (318) 448-0221.