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Pink Eye

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Viral conjunctivitis, also called “pink eye”, is a highly contagious eye infection that causes inflammation of the eye’s outer surface. Read on to learn more about this condition and how we can help.

You wake up one morning, look in the mirror and notice that one or both of your eyes is swollen, red, and watery. Is it serious? Will it go away on its own? Should you call your eye doctor?

All great questions — and below we’ll answer them and give you a better understanding of what viral conjunctivitis is and when to contact your eye doctor.

For any and all concerns or questions about your eye health, or to schedule your annual eye exam, 1 Hour EyeDocs in Montrose is here for you.

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Commonly known as “pink eye”, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye’s conjunctiva, the thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the eye’s surface. There are three types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial, and non-infectious.

The virus that most commonly causes conjunctivitis also causes the common cold, so coughing and sneezing can easily transfer the infection from one host to another.

What are Some Signs and Symptoms?

Someone with viral conjunctivitis may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pink or red eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Grittiness
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Crusty eyelids in the morning
  • Watery eye discharge

Because viral conjunctivitis is often caused by the common cold virus, you may experience a runny nose or sore throat along with your pink eye.

When Should You Call Your Eye Doctor?

Even in mild cases of viral conjunctivitis, the infection can be highly contagious, so it is highly recommended to contact your eye doctor to discuss the best ways to manage the condition.

Severe viral conjunctivitis warrants an immediate call to your eye doctor. Promptly let us know if you experience any of the following symptoms along with your pink eye:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Inability to open the affected eye
  • Visual disturbances
  • Severe light sensitivity
  • Extreme redness

Even if you only have mild symptoms, contact your eye doctor if your condition doesn’t improve within two days. Bacterial conjunctivitis produces similar symptoms but requires antibiotic medications, which your eye doctor will prescribe. Only an eye exam can determine which type of conjunctivitis you have.

Treatment for viral conjunctivitis focuses primarily on symptom relief, and your local Montrose Eye Doctor will recommend the most effective treatment to help soothe your eyes and ensure the infection is controlled.

If you or a loved one has pink eye or any other eye problem, call 1 Hour EyeDocs in Montrose, Colorado to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Montrose eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

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  • Is allergic conjunctivitis the same as “pink eye”?

    Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term of ocular inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term “pink eye”can signify a broad term of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a “pink eye.” Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.

  • What gets rid of pink eye fast?

    If you’re having bacterial pink eye symptoms, the fastest way to treat them is to see your local Eye Doctor. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotic eye drops. Using antibiotic eyedrops can shorten the duration of pink eye.

  • How Long Does Pink Eye Last?

    Most of the time, pink eye clears up within a few days to two weeks.

  • How long are you contagious with pink eye?

    Pink eye is a common eye condition that causes painful, red, and itchy eyes. Bacteria, viruses, or allergies can cause pink eye. Viral and bacterial pink eye are both highly contagious. Both adults and children can get pink eye and should stay away from work, school, or daycare until their symptoms clear.

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19. 

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes. 

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications. 

Here’s what you should know: 

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19 

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes. 

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus. 

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Montrose right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. Buck Buchanan, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses 

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth. 

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy. 

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances. 

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep. 

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at 1HourEyeDocs in Montrose, we wish you good health and please stay safe.