Think You Have Pink Eye? How To Cope

Posted on: 23 March 2015

Pink eye, another name for conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions. The term covers a variety of usually mild but highly contagious eye problems. Luckily, if you have pink eye, there's quite a bit you can do to treat it at home.

Check Your Symptoms

Pink eye gets its name from one of its most common symptoms. Tissue within the white of the eyeball becomes inflamed, which gives the eye a reddish color. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other common symptoms include itching and burning sensations in the eye, discharge, and sensitivity to light.

Because pink eye can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens, or other irritants, it can vary quite a bit in its symptoms. If you are unsure as to what's wrong with your eyes, the best thing you can do is to see an eye doctor for a professional diagnosis.

Stop Wearing Contacts

Besides being uncomfortable, wearing contacts when you have pink eye is unhygienic. They can prevent air from circulating and hold the infection to your eyes. If you have pink eye, you should remove your contacts right away and clean them thoroughly. If you wear disposable lenses, they should be thrown away. Also clean out any cases that you have been carrying your contacts in.

Use Cold/Warm Compresses

Applying a compress to your eye won't cure pink eye, but it can definitely make you feel better. It's up to you whether a warm or cold compress gives you more relief. A simple compress can be nothing more than a clean cloth soaked in warm or cold water and held to the eye. However, if you are having problems in both eyes, make sure you use two different compresses. Don't re-wet an old compress and re-use it, either; make a new, clean compress each time.

Be Extra Hygienic

Because pink eye is so contagious, it's important to limit its spread as much as possible. When using tissues to wipe your eyes, never use the same part of the tissue twice. Wipe each eye with a separate tissue, and throw them out immediately. Try not to touch your eyes any more than is necessary, and be sure to wash your hands afterwards.

Pink eye is usually mild and clears up quickly. However, if your symptoms are severe or don't seem to be improving, make another appointment with your optometrist right away.