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Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

What Can I Do to Relieve Symptoms of Pinkeye?

To relieve the symptoms of pinkeye:

  • Protect your eyes from dirt and other irritating substances.
  • Avoid the use of makeup.
  • Remove contact lenses if you wear them.
  • Non-prescription "artificial tears," a type of eye drops, may help relieve itching and burning from the irritating substances causing your pinkeye. However, other types of eye drops may irritate the eyes and should not be used, including those promoted to treat eye redness. Note: Do not use the same bottle of drops in an uninfected eye.

 

How Can I Prevent Spreading Pinkeye?

If you or your child has pinkeye:

  • Don't touch or rub the infected eye(s).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Wash any discharge from your eyes several times a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel. Afterwards, discard the cotton ball or paper towel and wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Wash your bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent.
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup.
  • Don't share eye makeup with anyone.
  • Never wear another person's contact lenses.
  • Wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses. Throw away disposable lenses or be sure to clean extended-wear lenses and all eyewear cases.
  • Avoid sharing common articles such as unwashed towels and glasses.
  • Wash your hands after applying the eye drops or ointment to your eye or your child's eye.
  • Do not use eye drops that were used for an infected eye in a non-infected eye.
  • If your child has bacterial or viral pinkeye, keep your child home from school or day care until he or she is no longer contagious. It's usually safe to return to school when symptoms have been resolved; however, it's important to continue practicing good hygiene just to be sure.

 

What Are the Complications of Pinkeye?

Usually, pinkeye is a self-limited disease, either clearing up on its own or after a course of antibiotics. However, certain forms of conjunctivitis can become serious and sight-threatening, because they can cause cornea scarring. They include conjunctivitis caused by gonorrhea, chlamydia, or certain strains of the adeno virus.

How Can I Avoid Getting Pinkeye?

Viral pinkeye is highly contagious. However, maintaining proper hygiene such as frequent hand washing should minimize transmission. Avoid touching your face since the virus can enter the eyes, nose, and mouth. 

With regards to allergic conjunctivitis, avoiding allergens and taking proper care of your contact lenses can help reduce your risk. If someone in your household has pinkeye, be sure to wash hands often and thoroughly. Avoid sharing washcloths, towels, pillowcases, mascara, or eyeliner with the person.

Eye drops are commonly given to treat conjunctivitis. Learn how to effectively insert eye drops.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on March 06, 2014
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