woman with green eyes

My Eyes are Red and Itchy. Could it be Pink Eye?  

Does one or both of your eyes look red and feel itchy or gritty? Is discharge coming out of one or both eyes? You may have pink eye.

Also known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is a common condition that affects about 6 million people in the United States each year. The condition causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent membrane covering your eyelid and the white part of your eye.

Pink eye develops as the result of a bacterial or viral infection of the eye or an allergic reaction. Sometimes babies develop conjunctivitis when a tear duct is not completely open.

Do I Have Pink Eye?

You may have conjunctivitis if you have been in contact with someone who has pink eye. Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or virus is highly contagious. The condition can spread to others as soon as symptoms appear, and can remain contagious as long there is discharge from the eyes or until you have been on antibiotics for 24 hours.

You may have pink eye if you are experiencing symptoms of conjunctivitis, which include:

  • Redness in one or both of your eyes
  • Itchiness in one or both of your eyes
  • A gritty sensation in one or both of your eyes
  • A discharge that forms a crust over one or both eyes during the night; this crust may prevent you from opening one or both of your eyes in the morning
  • Tearing

An eye doctor can determine if you have pink eye and the type of treatment you need. While pink eye can be irritating and often unsightly, it rarely affects vision. Treatment can help reduce irritation and discomfort associated with conjunctivitis. Treatment with antibiotics can also reduce the length of time you can spread the disease.

Conjunctivitis: Common FAQs for Concerned Parents

Pediatric acute bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) is one of the most common illnesses among children. As many as five million kids will get pink eye every year, and many of these instances will include a visit to an eye doctor for help. As a parent, it is always concerning when your child has an issue with their eyes. Here is a look at some of the most common questions parents often have about conjunctivitis in kids.

Is pink eye a threat to visual health?

Pink eye is essentially an infection of the eye. Therefore, if the condition goes untreated, it definitely could cause problems with visual health. Children have eye components that are still growing and forming, and infection can interfere with that process. Treatment for pink eye should be prompt because of this fact.

How contagious is pink eye?

Pink eye is highly contagious. Most children who get pink eye in one eye will have bilateral infections because of the easy spreadability. If you have other children in the house, keep in mind the condition can be contagious as soon as the symptoms show up and stays contagious even after the treatment initially begins.

How will an eye doctor treat pink eye?

Pink eye is most often treated with a round of oral antibiotics. More severe cases may involve something like antibiotic eye drops or something more intense.

Why do some people get pink eye repeatedly?

If your child is getting pink eye repeatedly, it is important that you work closely with your child’s pediatrician and eye doctor. Sometimes, an underlying problem, such as environmental irritants, may be to blame. However, children in daycare or preschool can also be more at risk because the condition is so easily spread from child to child.

Talk to an Eye Doctor in Austin for Pink Eye Concerns

Regular eye care is important for children. Even though pediatricians can treat conjunctivitis, it is always a good idea to have the guidance of an optometrist as well. Reach out to us at Northwest Hills Eye Care in Austin to discuss your pink eye concerns as a parent.