Pink Eye Home Remedy

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Home remedies for pink eye include artificial tears and cool compresses. Determine whether you need to see an ophthalmologist for your pink eye with help from an ophthalmologist in this free video on eye problems.

Part of the Video Series: Eye Problems
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Richard Cohn from the Cohn Eye Center in Maitland, Florida, and today we're going to talk about pink eye or conjunctivitis. Pink eye is inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white of the eye. The symptoms include redness, itching, grittiness, tearing and discharge. There are three main types. There is viral, there is allergic and there is bacterial. Those are the three types that we see most commonly in the office. Viral conjunctivitis is by far the most common, and is typically caused by the Adenovirus, which is the same virus that causes the common cold. Like a common cold, there is no specific treatment for viral pink eye, which usually goes away on its own in three to five days, or certainly within two weeks. The most important thing with viral pink eye is that this is highly contagious and spreads very commonly in families, in schools, in day care centers and nursing homes. It's very important to practice good contagion precautions with frequent hand washing if you have viral pink eye. It's very important that you are careful if you touch your eyes to go ahead and wash your hands before you touch things, because viral pink eye is spread on contact. If you rub your eyes and you touch your computer keyboard and someone later uses that keyboard and touches their eyes, that's how conjunctivitis is typically spread around. Artificial tears and using cool compresses will help the symptoms but generally viral pink eye has to go away on its own. Bacterial pink eye is different from viral in that there is usually a large significant discharge of pus from the eyes that will look yellow or green. While the family medical doctor typically treats this with antibiotic drops, I usually recommend that patients see their ophthalmologist as they are more likely to get an appropriate antibiotic that is more current and treats a wider range of bacteria. Allergic pink eye is typically caused by things that you are allergic to in the community be it pollen or animal dander or dust. Benadryl works well for this condition but one must be careful that Benadryl and other oral antihistamines can cause fatigue. Prescription eye drops like Pataday and Elestat that work very well to help reduce itching and burning but these need to be prescribed by your ophthalmologist. Eye drops that "get the red out" don't work very well for this condition as they can irritate the cornea. Some allergic reactions are seen to antibiotics like Neomycin and one must be careful to avoid those if you have an allergy to these medications. Lastly it is important that contact lens wearers should not just assume they have pink eye if their eye becomes red. Contact lens wearers are much more prone to get bad infections in the cornea and should be seen by an ophthalmologist if their eyes become red. The most important thing about pink eye is that you should not have significant pain or reduced vision with pink eye. If these occur, it is very important to see your ophthalmologist right away. Speaking about pink eye, I'm Dr. Richard Cohn.


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