Do you have pink eye? There are between three and six million cases of conjunctivitis diagnosed annually, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Treatment for this common eye condition requires a doctor's diagnosis. If you're not sure whether your itchy, watery eyes are a sign of conjunctivitis, an allergy, or another issue, take a look at why you may need to visit an urgent care clinic.
Pink Eye Is Contagious
Known medically as conjunctivitis, pink eye is exactly what the name sounds like—a pink eye (or eyes). Inflammation of the clear tissue inside of the eyelid (or the conjunctiva) causes this itchy, watery issue. While some itchy pink eyes are allergic reactions, some types of viruses and bacteria can cause conjunctivitis. While allergy-induced pink eye is not contagious, viral or bacterial conjunctivitis is. If you're not sure why your eye feels uncomfortable or looks pink, an urgent care clinic can either rule out or confirm pink eye. The sooner you know whether you have an infection or irritation the better. Left untreated, viral or bacterial pink eye could spread from one eye to the other, to household members, or to anyone else who you are in close contact with or who touches an infected surface.
Pink Eye Is Uncomfortable
The redness of this eye illness won't cause you problems. But the irritation and inflammation behind the most noticeable sign of conjunctivitis will. Pink eye is more than discoloration. Along with the pinkish appearance, a viral or bacterial infection can cause itching, tearing/watery eyes, burning, swollen eyelids, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or discharge. Without a diagnosis or treatment, pink eye can interfere with your normal daily activities—such as reading or working. It can also leave you with irritation or discomfort. These symptoms can make it difficult to concentrate on anything other than your eyes. Not only can an urgent care services doctor or medical provider diagnose viral or bacterial pink eye, but they can also help to control and eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms.
Pink Eye Is Treatable
You don't need to suffer through pink eye. Bacterial pink eye requires an antibiotic ointment drop or pill to treat. If the clinic doctor diagnoses you with viral conjunctivitis, they will not prescribe antibiotic drops. Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections—and not viral illnesses. Instead, the doctor can provide at-home treatment ideas to alleviate symptoms, such as cold compresses, or prescribe artificial tears to reduce itchiness and other symptoms.
For more information, contact an urgent care service, such as Fuller Family Medicine.