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Pink Eye

What’s the Difference Between Bacterial and Viral Conjunctivitis?

Is your eye red, swollen and teary? Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a likely culprit.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye, and is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection or a severe reaction to an allergen, such as pollen. Infectious conjunctivitis is highly contagious, so it’s best to head to your eye doctor as soon as possible to receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

What is Bacterial Conjunctivitis?

Bacterial conjunctivitis is an eye infection most commonly caused by staphylococcal, streptococcus or haemophilus bacteria. It generally affects one eye, but can be present in both eyes.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Whites of the eyes appear pink or red
  • Excessive tearing
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Scratchy feeling in the eye
  • Yellow or green discharge from the eye
  • Crusting of the eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning

Bacterial conjunctivitis is generally treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments to eliminate the infection.

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye. It generally affects both eyes and often accompanies a cold, sore throat, runny nose or fever.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Whites of the eyes appear light pink or salmon color
  • Excessive tearing
  • No presence of discharge
  • Itchy eyes

Viral pink eye typically resolves on its own within three to seven days, and is no longer contagious once the eyes have stopped tearing. To alleviate any discomfort, your eye doctor may recommend placing cold compresses on the eyes or applying artificial tear eye drops several times throughout the day. Let your eye doctor know if the symptoms persist after a few days.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of conjunctivitis, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano to schedule an eye exam today.
At Switalski Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 972-424-2019 or book an appointment online to see one of our Plano eye doctors.

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Q&A:

Can I wear contact lenses with infectious pink eye?

No. Contact lens wear is not recommended if you have an eye infection, as the virus or bacteria can remain on your contact lenses and reinfect your eyes following treatment. It is best to wait until the eye infection has completely cleared and your eye doctor has approved you to wear contact lenses again. All disposable lenses, whether daily or monthly, that were worn when the eyes were infected should be disposed of and a fresh pair used when you resume wearing lenses.

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19.

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes.

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications.

Here’s what you should know:

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes.

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus.

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Plano right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. Switalski, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth.

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances.

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep.

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at Switalski Eye Care in Plano, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Emergency Eye Care Services - Pink Eye Treatment in Plano, Texas


Do you or your child have red irritated sore eyes with a bit of swelling and or burning with a sticky discharge? It may be pink eye.

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What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an eye condition where the conjunctiva – the thin, clear layer lining the white (sclera) of the eye – swells up, causing the eye to appear red. The reddish or pink hue is due to the appearance of inflamed blood vessels in the sclera.

There exist several causes of pink eye, all of which will be discussed below. The term “pink eye” most commonly refers to the viral infection, though it can also be bacterial or allergic in origin.

If you suspect you may have pink eye, call your optometrist right away for prompt treatment. While pink eye is a mild eye emergency, delayed treatment can lead to vision or ocular damage.

The 4 Types of Pink Eye

1. Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and is the most contagious form of the condition. One can easily spread the virus by sneezing or coughing. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include watery, itchy, and red eyes along with sensitivity to light (in one or both eyes).This type of pink eye will usually run its course and clear up on its own within a few days without medical treatment. To relieve unpleasant symptoms, apply a cold, wet compress to the affected eye several times a day.

2. Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and can affect either one or both eyes. Symptoms of a bacterial infection include burning, grittiness and a yellow, sticky discharge in the corner of the eye. Bacterial pink eye is contagious and can spread through direct contact with contaminated hands or items that have been in contact with the affected eye. Treatment for bacterial eye infection is vital because, if left untreated, it can result in severe vision damage. Treatment includes antibiotic eye drops and ointments, which improve conjunctivitis in a matter of 3-5 days.

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3. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by eye allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust. Symptoms include itchy, watery, or burning eyes, occasionally accompanied by nasal congestion or a runny nose. Since allergic conjunctivitis affects individuals who are sensitive to specific allergens, it is not contagious and always affects both eyes. Allergy medication can help prevent or shorten allergic pink eye flare-ups.

4. Chemical conjunctivitis, a non-contagious form of pink eye, is caused by chemicals that lead the eye(s) to become irritated and swollen. Certain chemical irritants include smoke, chlorine (in a pool), air pollution, fumes, and other non-toxic chemicals. Symptoms include pain, temporarily decreased vision, redness, and swelling. To treat chemical conjunctivitis, you need to thoroughly flush the eye with clean water or a sterile eye irrigating solution to remove any irritating substances from the eye. Once the chemical is removed, you can use lubricating eye drops to soothe the eye and decrease redness.

Tips for Preventing Pink Eye

Contact lens wearers should remove their contacts if redness occurs and refrain from re-inserting them until the eyes fully heal. A visit to the eye doctor will help determine whether your contact lenses are the cause of your conjunctivitis and will advise on how to avoid a recurrence in the future.

Contact your eye doctor at Switalski Eye Care in Plano to determine the root cause and to get the best treatment for your pink eye. This condition tends to be simple to treat and easy to prevent.

Anyone can get conjunctivitis, but these simple precautions can help you dramatically lower your risk.

  • Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • Never share items such as makeup, hand towels, washcloths, or eyeglasses
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Wear goggles when swimming to shield the eyes from microbes and irritants
  • Replace contact lenses as directed
  • Regularly sanitize household surfaces and handheld devices
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