pink eye

Pink Eye and When to Seek Medical Attention

Throughout your life, it is almost certain that you have encountered someone who has been infected with pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis. In movies and television, pink eye is usually the result of a crude joke involving someone getting fecal matter in their eye. In fact, getting pink eye can be a lot simpler than this.

Pink eye is an inflammation or infection of the thin, transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the sclera, or the white part of the eyeball. It is generally caused by a bacterial infection, viral infection, or an allergic reaction, so the actual source can be tricky to pin down. It can be extremely contagious (if viral or bacterial), which makes the prevention and treatment of this infection a priority.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

The most common symptoms of pink eye include:

  • redness, itchiness, and/or gritty feeling in one or both eyes
  • thick yellow or green discharge (typical for bacterial)
  • thin or clear discharge from the eye (typical for viral or allergic)
  • pain or sensitivity when exposed to bright light
  • eyelids stuck closed when waking up

Home Remedies

While pink eye can require attention by a doctor, there are several home remedies that can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with it. Some home remedies include:

  • placing a warm compress over the eyes
  • over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen
  • lubricating eye-drops; not redness reducing

Additionally, people who wear contacts should throw out their old ones and get a new set to avoid re-infecting themselves. It is also best to avoid using eye makeup, as this can aggravate the infection further, spread it to the other eye, and be a source or re-infection. Typically, pink eye can resolve itself with the above steps in about a week.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Pink eye by itself rarely causes long-term effects on the eyes or vision, although it can be disturbing or irritating. However, seeking medical attention may be required in order to confirm that the symptoms are not a sign of more serious health problems. Additionally, proper treatment helps ensure that the infection doesn’t spread to other people.

Medical attention should be sought if you display any of the above-stated symptoms in addition to:


  • you have a high fever, shaking chills, face pain, or vision changes or loss
  • you have blurred vision, double vision, or see rings of light around objects
  • the condition recurs
  • you have an underlying condition, such as diabetes
  • it is a child who has conjunctivitis

Medically reviewed by Dr. Roman Shulze

At Healthpointe, we can help with the diagnosis and treatment of pink eye, as well as many other conditions related to it. For more information, you can make an appointment here or call us at (888) 719-8448.



About Miranda Eastman

Corporate Trainer and Editorial Manager: I'm a fan of racial, environmental, social, and economic justice. *Long-time Southern California resident, Whittier College alumnus.* I love dogs!

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