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Pink eye is the common name for a condition in which the conjunctiva, the clear covering of the eye, becomes inflamed and takes on a pink or reddish appearance. Often, this is accompanied by other reddish inflammation in the eyelids, which increases the pink appearance of the eye. Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common conditions our eye doctor near Las Vegas sees.
Conjunctivitis sends many people to the optometrist every year, but the causes of these cases can be different. There are three main forms of conjunctivitis, caused by viruses, bacteria, and allergic reactions. Viral infections are a lot like the common cold in that they typically must run their course and will get better on their own. Bacterial and allergic reactions may need treatment, as well as viral infections caused by more serious diseases.
Viral pink eye is very contagious and can be spread by coughing or sneezing. For this reason, it is very common in areas where people gather, such as colleges and schools. Small children, daycare workers, and teachers may be more prone to contracting these infections because children do not yet know how to avoid spreading germs.
Bacterial pink eye is also contagious, but it tends to require direct contact with the infected person's eye or items that have been on the eye. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. There are also situations where a person's eyes may become pink and inflamed from environmental causes, such as chemical exposure, excessive dust, and dirt in the air, or very dry air.
Aside from the pink and sometimes swollen appearance of the eye, there are several symptoms our optometrist will look for during your eye exam:
The different types of pink eye present slightly differently in most cases. Viral pink eye usually involves itchiness, excessive tearing, and sensitivity to light. Bacterial pink eye is usually accompanied by a discharge. Allergic conjunctivitis is the most likely to cause a burning sensation, as well as be accompanied by sneezing and a runny or stuffed-up nose.
If you go to your eye care professional with the symptoms of pink eye, he or she will first look at your eyes and ask you about your symptoms. When our eye doctor near Las Vegas has determined which type of pink eye you likely have, he or she will prescribe treatment appropriate to the cause:
If you usually wear contact lenses, take them out and only wear glasses until your eye exam is complete. The eye care professionals at Drs. Kopolow and Girisgen are available to help you if you think you have pink eye. Contact us at one of our two types of locations today: 702-341-7254 (LensCrafters locations) or 702-452-2020 (PearleVision locations).