Symptoms of Pink Eye
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is characterized by redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that surrounds the eye and the eyelids. This membrane is called the conjunctiva, hence the name. The most immediately noticeable symptom of pink eye is a pink or red color on the whites of the eyes. Not pronounced blood vessels, but an overall coloration.
It can be most prominent under the eyelid, as the membrane also lines the eyelid. This overall redness or pink coloring can appear very alarming, but it does no lasting damage. Treatment for bacterial pink eye needs to be swift, due to the highly contagious nature of the illness.
Additional symptoms of pink eye include irritation, itchiness and tearing. Irritation can make the eye feel dry, even when it is simultaneously tearing up. The itchiness encourages people to rub their eyes, which can cause it to spread to both eyes.
Additionally, rubbing the eyes increases the irritation and adds to the swelling. Excessive tearing can occur due to attempts to provide relief from the irritation and itch.
With viral or bacterial eye infections, discharge is also common. Discharge can be either yellow or green. Many patients with pink eye may feel as if their eyelids are glued together upon waking. This is a result of the discharge buildup, which can stick the eyelids together.
A gentle application of a damp paper towel can be used to remove the excess discharge and free the eyelids. Placing damp paper towels over closed eyes with slight pressure may relieve irritation or itchiness for a limited time.
The other frequent symptoms of pink eye are discomfort or feeling as if there is a foreign body in the eye, light sensitivity and/or runny nose. Frequent blinking can be a result of the sensation of discomfort.
Tearing can also be directly attributed to this symptom. Light sensitivity is comparatively rare. A runny nose may be caused by the same bacteria that causes pink eye.
Viral and bacterial pink eye are both highly contagious, and require rapid treatment to prevent the spread of the disease. In most cases, viral and bacterial pink eye will develop in one eye and then move to the other. It is most common in children, though it can also affect adults.
There are many treatment methods, though bacterial eye infections will probably need a prescription to clear up completely. In most cases pink eye will resolve in 7 to 10 days from the outbreak.