Woke Up to a Red, Crusty Eye?

June 14, 2017

Check your symptoms to determine if you should seek medical advice. It could be pinkeye!

A redness in the white part of the eye can be caused by a variety of things. It could be as simple as some slight irritation or allergy causing the problem. If the use of over-the-counter eye drops don’t clear up the situation, check your symptoms to determine if it’s best to see a medical professional.

 

Pinkeye

Also known as conjunctivitis, pinkeye occurs when the mucous membrane that lines the surface of the eye, and the eyelid, begin to swell.
Pinkeye is caused by either a virus or a bacterial infection, and both are very contagious. Pinkeye is also quite common, and in most cases, will go away on its own within 7 to 10 days.
Since most pinkeye is viral, antibiotics will not help. The virus must just run its course. Checking your symptoms can help you determine if what you have is pinkeye, and whether it is viral or bacterial.

 

Symptoms of Viral Pinkeye

• A burning or itching feeling in the eyelid
• Red coloring of the white part of the eye
• Eyelid swelling
• Excessive tearing of the eye
• Drainage from the eye that is thick, and white, or clear in color
• Tender or swollen areas in front of the ears
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is not usually necessary to seek medical treatment. However, if you wear contact lenses, only have vision in one eye or have a compromised immune system, it is recommended that you seek a medical evaluation.
Someone with viral pinkeye will be contagious while they are experiencing symptoms – usually 3 to 5 days – and should avoid contact with others during that time. Encourage frequent handwashing in those closest to you, and never share washcloths or towels while contagious.

 

Symptoms of Bacterial Pinkeye

Some cases of pinkeye are caused by bacterial infections. Your eye may look the same – with redness in the white part of the eye – but have different symptoms. Pay close attention to your symptoms to determine whether your eye can be treated by antibiotics:
• Mild pain in the eye
• Upper-eyelid swelling that may make the eyelid look as if it is drooping
• A gray or yellow discharge from the eye. Bacterial pinkeye usually produces more drainage, and the discharge is colored
Most bacterial pinkeye will clear up without treatment in 7 to 10 days. However, with antibiotics, the infection should be gone in 2 to 4 days, and the patient is able to return to work or school within 24 hours after starting antibiotics.

 

Red Eye

Red eye is the general term used to describe problems, not just in the eye lining, but also in and around the eye itself. Some causes of red eye include:
• An infection of the eye socket, or the area around the eye
• Something getting into the eye – such as a bug or other tiny particle
• Injury to the deeper part of the eye
• Scrapes and sores of the eye
• Dry eye because the eye does not produce enough tears

 

Treatment Options

Most causes of red eyes do not require medical treatment, but always use your best judgement. A Quick Med Care medical professional can assess your situation and determine the best course of treatment. For home care:
• Do not wear contact lenses while experiencing symptoms. Be sure to thoroughly clean your lenses and your case before using contact lenses again to prevent re-infection
• A warm compress or cool compress (whichever feels better), can be used to ease symptoms. However, if pinkeye is present, it is possible to infect the other eye, so be sure to use the compress only on the affected eye, and to put the compress right into the washing machine after use so no one else is handling it and risking infection

If symptoms do not seem to be improving, or are getting worse, or if you develop a sensitivity to light in the infected eye, it is time to seek medical advice. Let your Quick Med Care provider be a partner in your eye health.

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