Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a common and treatable eye condition. If your eyes are red, swollen, itching, and burning, it’s time for professional help. At St. Croix Falls Eye Associates, in St. Croix Falls, Webster, and Frederic, Wisconsin, licensed optometrists Lawrence Tran, OD, and Sandra Dolphin, OD, offer conjunctivitis exams for treatment and diagnosis. To find relief from your pink eye, call the office or request an appointment online.

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What causes conjunctivitis?

Common causes of conjunctivitis, or pink eye, include:

  • Viral: often accompanied by an upper respiratory tract infection, cold, or a sore throat
  • Bacterial: a common reason for children to stay home sick from school
  • Allergic: caused by reactions to pollen, dust mites, molds, or animal dander
  • Irritants: including contact lenses and lens solutions, swimming in an over-chlorinated pool, smog, and cosmetics

Determining the cause of your conjunctivitis often proves difficult because the signs and symptoms are similar, regardless of the underlying cause.

How is conjunctivitis diagnosed?

The medical staff at St. Croix Falls Eye Associates will diagnose you with pink eye by asking questions about your symptoms and recent health history to determine what is affecting you. You also undergo a physical examination of your eyes.

How is conjunctivitis treated?

Once diagnosed with conjunctivitis, the St. Croix Falls Eye Associates team recommends the proper course of treatment based on your symptoms. Because the only form of pink eye treatable with antibiotics is bacterial, it’s best to start with:

Eye compresses

Soak a clean cloth in cool or warm water. Before gently applying it to your closed eyelids, be sure to wring it out. It’s important that you separate these compresses for each eye to prevent cross-contamination.

Eye drops

Artificial tears — either with or without antihistamines — or other medications help relieve pink eye symptoms.

Stop wearing contact lenses

If you’re a contact lens wearer, stop wearing them until your eyes feel better, and be sure to clean them thoroughly before you use them again. If you use disposable contacts, throw them out along with the case and get a new pair.

How is pink eye prevented?

Because viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are both highly contagious and spread quickly, it’s important to take steps to limit exposure. The St. Croix Falls Eye Associates team recommends:

  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • If you’ve been in contact with your eyes or the eyes, hands, clothes, or linens of an infected person, wash your hands immediately
  • Don’t share towels, blankets, or pillowcases
  • Clean your eyeglasses
  • Keep all makeup and brushes to yourself

Once you’ve recovered from pink eye, be sure to throw away the makeup and applicators you used while infected to avoid reinfection.

If irritation has you rubbing and scratching your eyes, call today or book an appointment online.