How Long Does Pink Eye Last?
In some cases, it may be necessary to seek medical care for conjunctivitis or pink eye. Fortunately, seeking medical treatment for pink eye wake forest north carolina is not often required. In order to aid in relieving some of the symptoms from the infection including inflammation and dryness, you may use a cold compress or artificial tears. Eye drops can be purchased over-the-counter and do not require a prescription. You should also stop wearing contact lenses, if applicable, and follow up with your eye doctor to determine when it is safe to begin wearing them again. If you did not schedule a visit with the doctor, stop wearing your contacts until you no longer have any pink eye symptoms.
Seeking Medical Attention
You should follow up with a healthcare provider if you have pink eye in addition to any of the following symptoms:
- Pain in one or both eyes
- Light sensitivity or blurred vision which is not improved when discharge is removed after cleaning the affected area
- Intense redness in the eyes
- Symptoms which worsen or fail to improve, including pink eye which is thought to be caused by bacteria but does not improve after using an antibiotic for 24 hours
- Weakened or compromised immune system such as those infected with HIV, patients receiving a cancer treatment, or other medical conditions
If you have a newborn with conjunctivitis symptoms, follow up with a doctor right away as their vision can be permanently damaged without proper treatment.
Viral Pink Eye
Most cases of viral conjunctivitis are considered to be mild. The infection typically clears up in one to two weeks without any treatment or long-term problems. In some cases, however, viral conjunctivitis can take a few weeks or more to be resolved.
Doctors can prescribe an antiviral medication to treat more severe forms of pink eye. As an example, an antiviral medication is used for conjunctivitis caused by the herpes simplex virus or varicella-zoster virus. Antibiotics are not effective in improving viral conjunctivitis as these types of drugs are not effective for viruses.
Bacterial Pink Eye
Your doctor may prescribe you with an antibiotic. The medication is usually given topically and used in an eye drop or ointment form for bacterial conjunctivitis. Antibiotics may help shorten the duration of infection, expedite the healing process, reduce your risk for complications, and reduce the possible spread to others. Antibiotics may be necessary in the following situations:
- When the eye has discharge or pus
- In patients with a compromised immune system
- In the event certain bacteria is present
Mild bacterial pink eye may improve without the use of an antibiotic treatment and without any complications. It often improves in a few days without the use of treatment, but can take up to two weeks to be completely resolved. Follow up with your doctor to determine the best treatment option based on your specific infection.
Allergic Pink Eye
Pink eye which is caused by an allergen, such as pollen or exposure to an animal, typically improves by removing the allergen from your environment. Allergy medications and certain eye drops such as a topical antihistamine or prescription eye drops can also help provide relief from allergic conjunctivitis. In some cases, the doctor may encourage the use of a few different drugs in order to improve your symptoms. Your doctor can help determine if you have pink eye as a result of an allergy.