There are many conditions that can cause the eyes to become red, or pink, in colour; it could be something as simple as seasonal allergies to a much more serious eye condition. Regardless of the cause, Conjunctivitis, commonly known as ‘Pink Eye’ is a term used to define the inflamed and red tissue in the eye.
Often Pink Eye will accompany additional symptoms such as itching, burning, tearing up, and discharge, but it can also exist in absence of these other symptoms. It's important to recognize signs of Conjunctivitis and book in for a thorough eye exam right away to determine the root cause of your eye redness.
What Causes Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
There are numerous causes of Pink Eye such as bacteria, a virus, or external physical sources. Some possible causes of Conjunctivitis are:
- Viral infection
- Bacteria in the eye
- Allergic reactions
- Blocked tear duct
- Irritation due to chemical exposure
- Foreign object
It’s important to book in with an Optometrist right away who can use specific examinations and tests to determine the source of your Pink Eye and get you started with the right type of treatment.
Types of Testing for Pink Eye
If you suspect you have Pink Eye, your eye doctor will use a series of tests and exams to determine whether or not you have Conjunctivitis and, more importantly, what type of Conjunctivitis it is. Some of these tests are:
- Physical Exam: Your doctor will take a closer look at your symptoms to determine just one or both eyes are affected, if there is any thick, yellowish discharge that can mean a bacterial infection, or if there is a thin, watery discharge that can point to a viral infection. Often, Pink Eye can be diagnosed from just a physical exam alone. Your exam may include checking your lymph nodes as well for swelling which can occur with certain types of viral Conjunctivitis.
- Eye Testing: Additional testing of the eyes may be necessary to make a proper diagnosis of Pink Eye. Your eye doctor may use any combination of testing such as a slit lamp exam to look into the eye’s chambers, an eyelid eversion to check for a foreign object, and/or a Fluorescein Eye Stain test to detect irritation and trauma to the eye that may not be detected by a routine eye exam.
- Laboratory Tests: A number of lab tests can help determine whether or not the suspected Conjunctivitis is viral or bacterial. Some ways to look for this are through a bacterial culture or Polymerase Chain Reaction testing that checks your DNA for signs of an infection. Many doctors are providing an even quicker version of PCR testing that can screen for viruses in under ten minutes.
Pink Eye Diagnosis and Treatment in Calgary
We understand that sometimes you wake up and your eyes are red and irritated. Conjunctivitis just happens, and when it does, you need to know that you have a team behind you to help figure out the cause and provide a proper solution to nip it in the bud.
The experienced team of eye doctors and support staff at My Optometrist Calgary are just a phone call away for you to get the treatment you need. Don’t wait, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or calling to book in at one of our three convenient locations.
Can an optometrist help with Pink Eye?
Yes. Your Calgary Eye Doctor can help you test for, diagnose and treat Conjunctivitis. It is important to book in as soon as you experience any pain in your eyes, are noticing a sensitivity to light, are experiencing blurred vision, and/or notice any redness in one or both eyes.
Do I need antibiotics for Pink Eye?
Depending on the cause of your Pink Eye, you may or may not need antibiotics. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, a virus, allergies, or a foreign object in the eye. If your eye doctor determines that the source of the Pink Eye is bacterial through an eye examination, then they do have the ability to prescribe an antibiotic if needed. A viral Pink Eye will just need to run its course, and antihistamines can help with an allergic reaction that causes Conjunctivitis. If your Pink Eye is caused by exposure to an outside object, there are ways the doctor can help you flush and rinse the eye to facilitate its removal and healing.
Is Pink Eye contagious?
Viral and bacterial versions of Pink Eye are contagious and can be spread to others. Through testing, your Calgary eye doctor will help determine whether or not you have a contagious version of Conjunctivitis.