Is It Pink Eye or Allergies?

With so much pollen and other allergens floating through the air, sometimes your eyes can be as red and swollen as if you had pink eye. If your eye is bothering you, you might start to wonder: is it pink eye or allergies? The truth is that sometimes, it can be tough to tell. However, it is very important to understand which one you have in order to treat it appropriately.

Pink Eye or Allergies: What Are the Differences?

Conjunctivitis is the term for an eye infection, or an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue on the eyelid and the white area of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, a virus, a bacterium, or mechanical irritation.

Allergy

Those who suffer from seasonal allergies, including the terrible itching of the eyes, have experienced allergic conjunctivitis. These allergies will lead to itchiness, a clear watery discharge from the eyes, and swelling. The condition can be chronic, meaning that it won't go away very easily. Anything can cause this if you are allergic to it, but the most common culprits are dust, pollen, pet dander and mold.

Pink Eye

Pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis) can be caused by viral, bacterial and mechanical irritation, as well as allergies that has been talked above. However, it is a bit more serious and might require medications to eradicate. The most common symptoms include redness, itching and swelling, as well as a gritty feeling in the eye, tearing of the eye, and a discharge that creates a crust around or over the eye in the evening. This means that it might be tough to actually open your eyes in the morning.

How to Treat Eye Problems Accordingly

Whether you have pink eye or allergies, figuring out which one is important – you need the proper treatments in order to get better. That's why you should always check with the doctor first, before you take any over the counter or home remedies.

In most cases, the doctor can examine your eye and tell you what is going on. If the problem is severe, with your corneas affected, or if you are having repeated issues with this, the doctor might take a sample of the secretions from your eye in order to run tests.

In some cases, medication will be prescribed. In the cases of severe allergies, further allergy testing will be recommended to get to the source of the problem.

1.  Allergic Conjunctivitis

If the problem is caused by an allergy, over the counter medications can help relieve the symptoms while you and your doctor search for the allergen of the problem. Removing the allergen is the only way to truly clear up the problem.

2.  Viral Conjunctivitis

Much like the common cold, there is no surefire cure for this. It must run a course of four to seven days. But remember, during that time you are highly contagious, so avoid touching your eye and wash your hands often.

3.  Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Pink eye caused by bacteria can be treated with medications, including eye drops, ointments or pills. You might also be prescribed eye drops that will numb the eye and help ease the pain of the inflammation. It should go away within one week.

4.  Irritation Conjunctivitis

If your eye has been injured by some sort of irritant, your doctor will recommend irrigating the eye with cool water for at least five minutes. The problem should improve within hours. If it is something very caustic causing the problem, get in touch with the doctor immediately.

Though the over the counter eye drops intended for irritation can help, keep in mind that they only mask the symptoms, especially if you are dealing with a viral or bacterial infection. Speak with your doctor before you use any drops in your eyes.

Can You Prevent Pink Eye?

Whether you have pink eye or allergies, there is no doubt it feels awful – and you want to avoid it at all costs. Then what should you do?

  • Never rub or touch your eyes. If you must touch your eyes, wash your hands first.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after being in a public place. You can also use hand sanitizer to help keep things clean when you can't get to soap and water.
  • Never share personal items with friends, including towels or tissues, and never share contact lenses with anyone.
  • ŸBe prepared for seasonal allergies and do what you can to eliminate or reduce your exposure to the allergens.
  • Keep your environment clean; use disinfecting wipes on surfaces, such as countertops, computer keyboards and the like.
  • Wear goggles when swimming to help protect your eyes from viruses and bacteria that might be in the water.
  • Never wear your contact lenses in the shower, the pool, or anywhere else that might trap water between the lens and your eye.
  • Always use lens cleaner as directed, and follow directions for cleaning and replacement exactly as stated.

Get to know the spread of pink eye to better prevent it as much as possible by watching the video below:

 
 
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