According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conjunctivitis – or pink eye – is one of the most common eye conditions found in both children and adults. It’s also an eye infection that’s easily treatable and often best done in a walk-in urgent care center.
Here’s a closer look at conjunctivitis, how it spreads and how it’s treated.
- Conjunctivitis defined: Pink eye occurs when the thin lining on the inside of the eyelid and on the white portion of the eye becomes inflamed, thereby giving the eye a red or pink-like color. Common symptoms also include eye discharge, itching, burning, or crusting of the eye and an increased sensitivity to light.
- How it spreads: Conjunctivitis can be triggered by anything that infects or irritates the eye, such as bacteria, allergies, viruses – even things like pool chlorine. Conjunctivitis from allergies or other irritants isn’t contagious and will often get better and go away on its own within a few days. However, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious, making prompt treatment crucial. Washing hands and refraining from touching the eyes are steps to reduce the risk of developing pink eye, especially in places like schools, where such may be more prevalent.
- Treating it: In order to reduce spreading pink eye to your family, friends and peers, immediate treatment is necessary. The most common means of clearing up conjunctivitis are antibiotic drops that your doctor will prescribe. Just by using the drops as directed, pink eye will typically clear up immediately, allowing you to resume normal activities promptly. However, if you require corrective lenses, you’ll have to leave your contacts in the case for about two weeks, as you can’t have anything in your eye until symptoms completely clear. It’s also recommended you wash towels and other things that may have come into contact with the eye to minimize its potential spreading.
Pink eye is a condition that should receive immediate care and can be quickly and effectively treated at AFC Urgent Care Waltham. You can walk in, any day of the year, from 8am to 8pm – no appointment or referral needed.
By Dr. Gary Blair