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Pink Eye

Family washing hands to keep pink eye from spreading“Pink Eye” (Conjunctivitis) is a catchall term used to describe a host of eye conditions caused by such things as bacteria, viruses, allergies, contact lenses and toxic materials.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When it becomes inflamed it is more visible. That’s what causes the whites of your eyes to appear pinkish, or reddish in color.

Having Pink Eye can be annoying, but it usually doesn’t affect your vision. But because it can be contagious, early diagnosis and treatment can help limit its spread.

Some of the symptoms of Pink Eye include

•    Increased tearing
•    Itching, irritation, and/or burning
•    Pink or red color in the white of the eye(s) (often one eye for bacterial and often both eyes for viral or allergic conjunctivitis)
•    Swelling of the conjunctiva (the thin layer that lines the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid) and/or eyelids
•    Crusting of eyelids or lashes sometimes occurs, especially in the morning
•    Contact lenses that do not stay in place on the eye and/or feel uncomfortable due to bumps that may form under the eyelid

When your eye becomes inflamed, doctors typically prescribe an antibiotic. However, determining the exact cause of each case of conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) can be difficult because some symptoms of the condition can be similar, depending on the cause.

“Without testing the discharge that your eye is secreting you really don’t know what the cause is,” explains Dr. Larry Malashock, one of six optometrists at Malbar Vision. “So if you treat it with an antibiotic, if it’s a virus, it’s going to go away on its own anyway. If it’s an allergy, it will keep going after the drops. And if it’s bacterial, the antibiotic will treat it. So the idea is to treat the one you can treat and hopefully it clears up. And if it doesn’t, then we try something else.”